French star leaves door open to Newcastle United summer transfer

Newcastle United came close to signing Reims star Hugo Ekitike on January transfer deadline day.

Newcastle United transfer target Hugo Ekitike has described the Magpies as ‘a great club’ and addressed aborted move to Tyneside earlier this season.

The Reims forward looked set to join Eddie Howe’s side on the final day of the January transfer window after United agreed a fee with the Ligue 1 club.

Ekitike decided against the move before travelling to the North East and was believed to have concerns over the Magpies battle against relegation.

However, he revealed he felt it was ‘better’ to remain at Reims until the end of the season as he prepares for an ‘eventful’ summer that could see him move on.

He told L’Equipe: “It makes me smile because it’s a credit to my work. It makes me feel like I exist.

“I know that what I do in the field is good; it is recognised. And not just by anyone. It pushes me to give the best of myself. I always want to progress and be the best.

“I respect this great club (Newcastle) very much. But it was done quickly; it was not the timing. It was better to stay here, to make a full season, to confirm.

“I imagine it (the summer) to be eventful! I think that people will show interest in me. On my side, I will be calm because I am surrounded by the right people to manage it.”

Borussia Dortmund are also said to be interested in the young forward.