Newcastle facing ‘lots of work’ to seal Hugo Ekitike transfer amid ‘problematic’ saga

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Newcastle United still have plenty of work to do in order to land Reims forward Hugo Ekitike over the next few weeks, according to reports. The Magpies are currently in advanced talks over a move for the 19-year-old, who was initially targeted in January but decided to stay at Reims in order to weigh up his options in advance of the new campaign.

Newcastle wasted no time in resuming talks with Ekitike’s current employers at the end of last season and have made plenty of progress over the last few weeks, with a deal almost sealed as things stand. However, Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth has revealed that Newcastle could still be left empty-handed in spite of the long and drawn-out negotiations that have gone on behind closed doors since the turn of the year.

“We’re being told personal terms are close to being agreed with Ekitike ahead of a proposed move to Newcastle United, the transfer fee is in excess of £30million,” Sheth told Sky Sports News.

“This has been a difficult deal to do and there’s still quite a lot of work to be done before Newcastle can confidently say that Ekitike will become a Newcastle player. He’s currently having some time off, he was part of the France under-21 squad which won the Toulon tournament over the past few weeks.

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“But if, and it’s a big if, terms can be agreed it’s hoped he may fly into Tyneside as early as next week to take a medical and finalise that move. It looks like it’s heading in the right direction but this one has been very difficult and problematic so far.”

It was recently suggested that Ekitike’s move to Newcastle could be delayed as a result of a knock he suffered while on international duty at the Toulon tournament earlier this month. However, initial scans delivered promising results and he is expected to be fully fit by the time the new season gets underway in early August.

Newcastle spent more than any other club in world football in January and will be looking to use their cash reserves to finally wrap up a deal for Ekitike over the coming weeks. Former Premier League boss Alex McLeish has urged the Magpies to give up the chase, though, in order to avoid being held to ransom as a frustrating by-product of their newly-found riches.

“People will up the ante because of the Newcastle owners, I get that,” McLeish recently told Football Insider. “Normally you have certain prices, like property.

“You know that it’s going to be around that figure, so it should be the same for the players. If you’re getting held to ransom, I don’t think you can survive that.

“Go for your second target. Maybe they’ve got four people on their little list and maybe they’ve got to go for somebody else.”

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