Newcastle set to sign €30m Ekitike

-Ikenna Okafor

NEWCASTLE UNITED are confident of wrapping up a deal for Hugo Ekitike in the next few days after Reims accepted the club’s latest offer for the teenage striker.

After an intense week of negotiations, the Magpies have agreed to pay an initial fee of around €30m (£25.5m) for Ekitike, with a further €5m of potential add-ons included as part of the deal.

The agreement is broadly the same as the deal that was thrashed out in January, only for Ekitike to pull the plug on the move on deadline day when he opted to remain in Ligue 1 rather than move to Tyneside.

Four months on, and Newcastle have rekindled their interest in the Reims-born forward, who turns 20 later this month, and have received strong indications that Ekitike is finally ready to leave his hometown team and test himself in the Premier League.

Newcastle officials have held preliminary talks with the forward and his representatives, and are understood to have offered a five-year deal.

Provided Ekitike agrees to the terms of that deal, he will be flown to the North-East next week to undergo a medical and complete his transfer.

Newcastle’s recruitment team are aware of potential competing interest from Borussia Dortmund, who were linked with Ekitike after the departure of Erling Haaland was confirmed earlier this summer, and are understandably keen to push through the transfer as quickly as possible.

While incoming technical director Dan Ashworth has not been involved in the deal to this point, he is expected to be part of the team that attempts to bring it to a successful resolution in the next few days.

Ekitike, a France Under-20 international, is regarded as one of the most exciting young attacking talents in Europe, having made his senior debut for Reims in October 2020.

He had a brief spell on loan at Danish side Vejle Boldklub at the start of last year, but returned to France to spend the whole of last season with Reims. He made 24 appearances in Ligue 1, 15 of which were starts, and contributed ten goals and three assists as Reims finished in mid-table in 12th position.

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