French club president hits out at ‘impossible’ Newcastle United offer - and names asking price for target

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Reims have set a high asking price for Newcastle United transfer target Hugo Ekitike.

Newcastle United have had a bid rejected by Reims for young striker Hugo Ekitike - according to the French club’s president Jean-Pierre Caillot.

The 19-year-old, who has drawn comparisons to Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe- has been heavily discussed among Magpies’ transfer officials, prompting them to reach out to the Ligue 1 outfit.

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At one stage, it appeared Ekitike had briefly become the club’s leading target for the striker position following the news of Callum Wilson’s eight-week injury layoff earlier this month.

However, focus soon turned to New Zealand international Chris Wood, who was signed from Burnley last Thursday after United activated the £25million release clause in his contract.

Despite Wood stepping in to replace Wilson - who is fighting for a late-March return - Newcastle have maintained their interest in Ekitike.

Indeed, the Reims academy graduate is one of France’s brighest prospects having burst onto the scene this season. Since August, the player is the highest scoring teenager in Europe’s top five leagues with eight goals in 17 league outings.

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Talks have taken place between Newcastle and Reims and according to the latter’s president, Eddie Howe’s side have since been unsuccessful in their attempt to land Ekitike.

Caillot told Le Quotidien du Sport: “It is true that a lot have realised the quality of the player now, but not us. He was formed with us and it does not surprise us.

“Newcastle positioned themselves, 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 €35m (£29m) all in, but with a number of bonuses, some of them were impossible to reach. Like for example, winning the Champions’ League…”

When asked how much Reims want for Ekitike, Caillot said: “We want €30m (£25m) flat and €10m (£8m) achievable bonuses.”

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