West Ham have reportedly joined Newcastle United in the race to sign Reims youngster Hugo Ekitike this January transfer window.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has offered an update on Hugo Ekitike. The Reims wonderkid has emerged as a hot prospect in the transfer market, with multiple clubs interested in securing his services in the ongoing winter market. Newcastle United and West Ham United, in particular, are among the Premier League clubs hoping to land a deal for the young centre forward.
Earlier reports had suggested that Newcastle United are in advanced talks with Reims surrounding a January swoop for Ekitike. But Romano suggests the deal could be much more complicated than it seems, with the Magpies also set to face fresh competition from league rivals West Ham United.
Although the Hammers are yet to hold any talks with Reims regarding Ekitike, it appears the French forward has emerged as the latest player to have been identified as an ideal target for David Moyes. The former Manchester United boss is indeed keen on securing a competitor for Michail Antonio, who is currently the only reliable centre-forward in his team.
Ekitike fits the bill well, having emerged as a breakout star in Ligue 1 this season. In just 17 appearances, the 19-year-old has netted eight goals while providing three assists. His contributions in front of goal have been critical in helping his team avoid the relegation scrap so far.
In addition to West Ham, Newcastle United have shown the desire to snap up the teenage sensation this January. The youngster is likely to have been identified as part of Eddie Howe’s attacking overhaul, with the new coach reportedly looking to sign two new forwards as cover for the injured Callum Wilson.
The Magpies are already closing in on the capture of Chris Wood. But for the second alternative, Howe prefers a younger option with the potential to grow into an asset for the club in the near future.
Ekitike has emerged as an appealing option due to his performances in Ligue 1 this term. But it could be a challenging ask for both these clubs to convince Reims to sanction a sale. The French outfit are persistent in their quest to keep hold of the 19-year-old wonderkid, knowing his departure could see them plunge into the relegation dogfight during the second half of the season.
As per Romano, Reims want to include a sell-on clause should they end up offloading Ekitike. So it is now up to West Ham and Newcastle to match their demands if they are truly interested in the 19-year-old this January.