Newcastle United contact Reims over striker Hugo Ekitike

Newcastle United contact Reims over striker Hugo Ekitike but French club slap £25m price tag – plus a sell on percentage – on youngster with Eddie Howe’s side desperate for a centre forward to help fight off relegation

  • The 19-year-old has scored eight goals in 17 Ligue 1 appearances this season 
  • Eddie Howe wants to bolster his attacking options in January transfer window 
  • Lille say defender Sven Botman will stay despite a £30m bid from the Toon

Newcastle United have spoken to Reims about 19-year-old striker Hugo Ekitike, as reported by Sportsmail on Monday, but his club want £25m plus bonuses and a sell-on percentage.

The France U20 international has been identified by Newcastle scouts as one of the best up and coming forwards in Europe after a breakout season where he has scored eight goals in 18 games.

Ekitike is 6ft 2ins tall, quick, skilful, can play at centre forward or on the wing. He has been likened in style to Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford but prefers to do more work in the box, is still very much developing and is viewed as one that will get stronger.

Newcastle United have spoken to Ligue 1 side Reims about teenage striker Hugo Ekitike

The 19-year-old is enjoying a breakout season in France after scoring eight goals in 18 games

Manager Eddie Howe had asked for a young striker and Ekitike is viewed as a player of great potential but Newcastle recognise he would need an experienced head alongside him to help him settle in the Premier League and particularly for a relegation fight.

They are working through an extensive list in the hope one can be signed before Saturday’s game against Watford but time is against them.

Burnley’s Chris Wood is a striker that has been proposed though the Turf Moor club would be reluctant to sell the 30-year-old to a relegation rival. Liverpool do not intend to sell Divock Origi this window while a proposed move for Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke has also been dismissed.

The Magpies had their initial £30m bid for Dutch defender Sven Botman (left) rejected by Lille

Zenit St Petersburg’s Sardar Azmoun remains an option but is also wanted by Lyon while Marseille’s Bamba Dieng is another target as is Lyon’s Moussa Dembele. None are easy to complete as Newcastle face rising price tags and competition from clubs in better league positions, hence their seemingly scatter-gun approach.

They also hope for a breakthrough in signing defenders.

Lille are insisting that defender Sven Botman, who was subject of a £30m bid from Newcastle, will stay. However, talks are continuing with Monaco for Benoit Badashile and with Sevilla over Diego Carlos.

Newcastle have enquired about Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell but have yet to commit to a meaningful bid.

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