Newcastle United have reportedly pulled the plug on the £30 million move to sign 20-year-old French striker Hugo Ekitike from Stade Reims.
According to a report by 90 min, Hugo Ekitike will not be pulling on the Newcastle United jersey in the 2022/23 season. Despite having an agreement with the player’s parent club Reims and on personal terms with the 20-year-old, the Premier League giants are set to withdraw their interest in the French prodigy yet again.
Earlier this summer, it had looked like a deal was nailed on and Hugo Ekitike to Newcastle United simply appeared to be a matter of time. Rumours circulated that the Magpies had reached an agreement with the French club, as well as the player himself, having chased the striker’s signature for the best part of the last six months.
A bid was accepted in January as well, but Ekitike decided against leaving his hometown club mid-season. To Newcastle’s credit, they wasted no time in reviving their interest. A £30 million deal was struck and it was hoped that Ekitike would arrive on Tyneside this week for a medical, according to Sky Sports.
While Reims are prepared to let the striker move to St. James’ Park, the transfer continued to stall, leading to a sense of frustration among Newcastle fans due to the long-drawn saga. It was reported in recent days that agent fees were stalling the deal, while there has also been speculation that the player and his entourage are holding out for interest from elsewhere before making a decision.
It now looks like that could have proved to be the thin end of the wedge as 90 min report that Newcastle have walked away from a potential Ekitike deal and are ready to pursue other targets if they do not make headway in talks soon. This comes as a major blow, considering they dedicated so much time dragging along in this transfer soap opera.
It is safe to say that it had the potential to be a massive coup for Newcastle. Regarded as one of the most exciting young prospects in Europe, the 20-year-old France Under-21 international scored 11 goals in 26 Ligue 1 outings last season, despite missing a chunk of the campaign with a hamstring issue.
However, it was not to be for Newcastle, who will now turn their attention elsewhere. Newcastle are keen to add a forward this summer to bring more competition for the injury-prone Callum Wilson and January signing Chris Wood, who only netted twice for the Magpies in the latter half of the season.
Furthermore, Dwight Gayle is expected to leave St. James’ Park this summer. To that end, Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin have been mentioned as potential options.
More broadly, Newcastle’s new owners are becoming frustrated and annoyed with their current transfer market situation. The baggage of holding the ‘richest club in the world’ tag is weighing heavy on them as agents, players, and clubs are all trying to draw more out of their deep pockets. That said, they have previously shown that they are not to be exploited in the market, having stepped away from the Sven Botman deal.