Newcastle United still have some hurdles to overcome before they can sign Hugo Ekitike.
The forward has been a Toon target all year, having turned down a move to St James’ Park in January.
Earlier this summer it looked like a deal was nailed on, but Ekitike is still yet to be seen putting pen to paper and holding a black and white scarf above his head.
It was reported at the start of June that Newcastle had agreed a £26million fee for the 20-year-old. It’s negotiations with the player and his team that have proven to be the stumbling block.
The Athletic state that Newcastle still believe they will sign Ekitike, but there are some hurdles to overcome.
What Newcastle need to do to sign Hugo Ekitike
According to the Athletic, agent fees have proven to be an issue throughout negotiations. They add that the Reims ace also wants assurances about his potential game time at St James’ Park.
Eddie Howe and co need to convince Ekitike that he’ll get the first-team football he craves if he moves to the North East. But can he guarantee that?
Callum Wilson will be the club’s main striker, and will remain so until fitness issues hinder him like they have in the past.
If Wilson does get injured then Ekitike would be challenging Chris Wood for a place in the starting XI.
The French forward is flexible though, and can play out wide too. He’s played off the left at times, which is Allan Saint-Maximin’s position at St James’ Park.
So straight away it’s difficult to see how Ekitike will be a starter on Tyneside. But he should get the minutes he needs. He might not start every week, but his versatility means he’s a great option to have on the bench.
And the sooner he adapts to English football and impresses in the Premier League, the sooner Howe will see him as a player for the present rather than the future.
This has been an infuriating transfer saga. Let’s just pray it’s worth the wait if Ekitike does indeed sign for Newcastle.