We hit you with the report just two weeks ago. We now have official confirmation—from Stade de Reims' side—that the transfer of Hugo Ekitike from the French side to Newcastle might actually, truly, in fact, be in the deeper stages of negotiations.
Of course, we were not lying to you by headlining that piece with an aggressive “Newcastle on the verge of signing Hugo Ekitike.” Why, you ask? Well, let me introduce you to SdR’s very own president Jean-Pierre Caillot.
JPC, speaking to French media outlet L’Union, couldn’t have made things clearer: “the business is following its course and there will be a transfer.” Caillot, of course, was talking about the potential sale of Hugo Ekitike, the 19-year-old phenom football part of the Stade de Reims club, and expected to depart the club as soon as this summer.
More interestingly, Caillot even dropped a number to the newspaper saying that the operation “should cost more than 20 million euros.” He later added and clarified that “from that point on, you have to be reasonable.” All of that information makes sense and agrees with earlier words shared by the French-club president as he was quoted last January—when Newcastle first showed interested in the young forward—saying that SdR wouldn’t sell Ekitike by fewer than €30M at signing time plus €10M on achievable bonuses and a 25% future-sale share in the event that happened.
With the demands now lowered and the president seemingly back down to Earth—though it’s expected there will be some future-sale clauses and percentages still in play and accepted by whoever ends landing the striker—it all points toward an agreement between Stade de Reims and Newcastle as soon as this week or the days leading up to the official summer transfer window kickoff taking place on June 10.
There is something very buried in Caillot’s interview and it has to do, in fact, with Ekitike’s probable final destination. The outlet asked Caillot about the chance of Hugo getting moved to behemoth PSG, to which he replied that “[Ekitike] has the talent and qualities to one day join that type of club, but I think it’s still too early.” Without even getting asked for an opinion but obviously knowing about the Magpies' interest in the player, though, he added that “[Newcastle] is the typical type of environment where [Ekitike] could continue to grow and move on.”
If this looked like a very probable deal for Newcastle to turn into their first (or second, depending on how you look at it) big transfer of the summer, well, it’s now pretty much sealed and delivered by the man holding the keys to unlock the whole operation in SdR’s president.
We’ll keep you updated as we get to know more information about this story’s development in the next few days here at Coming Home United.