Newcastle United are ‘going after’ Stade Reims striker Hugo Ekitike ‘no matter what’ when the transfer market reopens for business, according to journalist Dean Jones.
The Magpies had a bid worth up to £33 million accepted for the 19-year-old in January, but the player decided to stay put following last-minute interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund.
Ekitike only made his first-team debut for Reims in August yet quickly established himself as one of the most exciting and promising attacking talents in Ligue 1.
The teenager racked up eight goals and three assists in his opening 17 top-flight appearances of the season before injury, suspension and a lack of form saw his progression slow down since the turn of the year.
In his six appearances across all competitions in 2022, Ekitike has only found the back of the net on one occasion and is still currently sidelined with a hamstring problem.
However, the France Under-20 international’s struggles don’t appear to have put off Newcastle, with recent reports suggesting they are continuing their pursuit of the talented attacker.
According to French outlet BUT!, the St. James’ Park outfit are set to revive their interest in Ekitike ahead of next season, although they will once again face extensive competition for his signature.
Fellow Premier League sides West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all reportedly joined the queue for Ekitike’s services in what’s expected to be a hotly contested transfer tussle.
Newcastle are likely to be busy in the summer as manager Eddie Howe looks to make further additions to his first-team squad.
The Toon Army spent £90m on five new acquisitions in the winter, and Jones reckons Ekitike is ‘the most likely’ forward Howe and co. will target in the months ahead.
He told GiveMeSport: “Ekitike, I think they’re going after him no matter what. So, I’d say that he is the most likely striker that they’ll sign.”
French outlet FootMercato has claimed that Newcastle are part of the extensive list of clubs looking to sign Benfica’s highly-rated star Darwin Nunez.
Manchester United, PSG and Atletico Madrid are also said to be keeping close tabs of Nunez’s situation, meaning Newcastle could find it difficult to snap up either of their top targets up front this summer.