Newcastle United have been dealt a deadline day blow with key target Hugo Ekitike rejecting a switch despite a lucrative bid being accepted by Stade de Reims.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United will now not be signing highly-rated French striker Hugo Ekitike on transfer deadline day. This news comes as a major blow to Eddie Howe’s side, who wanted a young striker to compete and develop alongside more experienced forwards in their attacking ranks.
Earlier on deadline day, it was reported that the Magpies had been successful in their bid for the in-demand French teenager, which was said to be in the region between £20 million to £25 million, including £8 million in bonuses and add-ons, taking it to a total value of £33 million. After the fees had been agreed, the rest of the negotiations seemed a foregone conclusion.
However, the player and his entourage were not convinced about the move to Tyneside, and the 19-year-old will now remain at Reims for the remainder of the season and will reassess his options in the summer. Newcastle were also unhappy with Reims’ demand to insert a hefty sell-on clause, with the French outfit seeking up to 30% on any future sales.
While the Magpies may have already brought in one striker in Chris Wood earlier in the January transfer window, getting Ekitike in would have completed Howe’s striking roster as they look for a better second half of the Premier League season to beat the drop.
Callum Wilson is a proven goalscorer at the Premier League level, but his worrying injury record is a cause of concern for the Toon. If he picks up another injury, it could potentially derail their survival hopes as they would miss the 29-year-old’s mobility and goalscoring impetus.
Ekitike is regarded as one of the best up-and-coming young strikers in France, having scored eight times and provided three assists in 18 Ligue 1 appearances so far in his breakthrough campaign. The teenage forward is seen as a future star and has drawn comparisons to David Trezeguet and even Kylian Mbappe.
It was not meant to be for Newcastle this time around, but should the Magpies survive the threat of relegation, and if the 19-year-old continues to perform, it would be sensible to revive talks with Reims in the summer. That is a possibility Ekitike is willing to wait for, although other clubs such as West Ham and PSG, who have shown interest in the past, could also emerge as options for the teenager.
Despite suffering a setback in their pursuit of Ekitike, the Tynesiders have had an incredible winter window. They have already acquired the services of Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon, Chris Wood from Burnley, Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid and Matt Targett from Aston Villa (loan), while a move for Dan Burn is in the pipeline as well.