‘Amount should be’ - Two Hugo Ekitike Newcastle United transfer admissions show stance change

Newcastle United are understood to be closing in on a deal for Hugo Ekitike

Newcastle United continue to be heavily linked with a big money swoop for Stade de Reims striker Hugo Ekitike.

The precocious teenager has been on the Toon Army’s radar since January, with renewed efforts to sign him being widely reported in recent weeks.

According to iNews, talks over a potential move are expected to continue in the coming days, and an apparent change in stance from Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot could bode well for the Magpies’ chance of wrapping up a deal.

Speaking about his side’s demands for the French forward earlier this year, Caillot said: “The amount should be more than €20million (£17m). Afterwards, you have to know how to be reasonable.”

By “afterwards”, it was generally assumed that the club chief was referring to any potential add-ons that would be included in an agreement for Ekitike.

He added: “Newcastle positioned themselves [in January], we discussed it, they made us an offer that did not suit us.

“As we do not really want him to leave, we have fixed the price quite high.

“They did offer us €35million (£29m) all in, but with a number of bonuses, some of them were quasi-impossible to reach. Like for example, winning the Champions League… We want €30m (£25m) flat and €10m (£8.3m) achievable bonuses.”

Since then, however, Caillot has openly alluded to Newcastle’s renewed interest, and has seemingly adopted a softer stance.

Recent reports have suggested an initial fee in excess of £30million and a number of add-ons would be enough to secure a deal for Ekitike, and the Reims president is seemingly willing to consider an offer in that region.

Speaking earlier this month, he said: “Today is very concrete. And on the table, there is one that suits us very well.

“An offer which, in my view, is sportingly interesting for the player and it is now up to him to make his choice, it is not for me to do so.

“From now on, it is his advisers who must move forward on this file. And if at the time of speaking this is not done, it is because his advisers have not yet wished to move forward with this club.

“We remain discreet but hey… it’s an English club so we understand which club we’re talking about.”

Caillot also sought to clarify his previous comments on Ekitike’s valuation.

He said: “You have to be very careful what you say because in other interviews I said it was between €20m and €40m euros and it was said that the real price that I had announced, it was €20m.

“Let things be clear at €20m, Hugo Ekitike will not leave.

“Today, the value of the player with all that we can detect in his potential, we must be between €30m and €40m according to the different montages.”