Newcastle United have received a potential boost in their efforts to close out a deal for Reims star Hugo Ekitike.
The Magpies have picked up where they left off in January by attempting to sign the highly-rated 19-year-old forward ahead of next season.
A fee was first agreed for Ekitike six months ago, however the France under-20s international decided against leaving his hometown club mid-season.
This summer however, Ekitike will leave Reims. The French club are happy to do business with Newcastle - as confirmed by president Jean-Pierre Caillot - and the final decision now rests with the player and his representatives.
One factor that is rumoured to be holding up a move to St James’ Park is Ekitike and his agent Karl Buchmann remaining open to approaches from elsewhere.
Borussia Dortmund have been credited with an interest in Ekitike as they look to replace Erling Haaland, who has joined Manchester City.
Borussia Dortmund switch focus to Seb Haller?
Reports in Holland, however, have suggested Newcastle may have one less club to worry about, with Dortmund launching a £28m swoop for Ajax striker Sebastian Haller.
Haller has scored 47 goals in 65 appearances for the Amsterdam side, which has helped erase a difficult 18-month spell at West Ham United.
If Dortmund sign Haller, then that will likely put an end to their apparent interest in Ekitike. That, in theory, could increase Newcastle’s chance of winning the race.
Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with Ekitike after witnessing first-hand his breakthrough on the Ligue 1 stage last season.
Ekitike scored 11 goals in 25 outings in 2021/22 despite spending a large chunk of the campaign on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.
The teenager is currently on holiday after competing at the Toulon Tournament, which was won by Ekitike and his French teammates.
Eddie Howe’s Newcastle return to pre-season at the beginning of July 1 as they prepare to host Nottingham Forest on the opening day of the Premier League season.