Newcastle United are in advanced talks to sign French wonderkid Hugo Ekitike from Reims in a deal worth just shy of £30m, 90min understands.
The 19-year-old is the highest scoring teenager in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, scoring eight goals in 17 Ligue 1 games to date, and has already drawn comparisons in the French media to Kylian Mbappe.
The Magpies want the deal for Ekitike to be completed before Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford and manager Eddie Howe has given the green light for a move to proceed.
90min reported earlier in the week that Newcastle were targeting the signing of two forwards in January due to Callum Wilson’s injury, and they are now close to landing a player who has caught the eye in Ligue 1 with a number of standout displays.
Ekitike, who graduated from Reims’ academy and previously spent time on loan at Danish Superliga club Vejle Boldklub, feels ready to make the move to the North East, and his arrival would add fresh impetus to a Newcastle side still reeling from their shock FA Cup defeat to Cambridge on Saturday.
The Magpies are also still languishing in the Premier League‘s relegation zone, with their fortunes yet to significantly change since Howe took charge despite an improvement in overall performances.
There have also been frustrations for Newcastle in the transfer market. Kieran Trippier is the only new face through the doors at St James’ Park to date, although the club’s lack of activity in the window hasn’t been for the want of trying.
Lille remain steadfast in their desire to keep hold of Sven Botman, despite his apparent desire to move on, while Newcastle’s bid to sign Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos is also dragging its feet.
There are many other players on the radar, including Monaco’s Benoit Badiashile and Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly from a defensive standpoint, as well as Flamengo striker Gabigol, Burnley hitman Chris Wood and Tottenham’s out-of-favour forward Steven Bergwijn,