Reims president drops major Hugo Ekitike hint as Newcastle United push to finalise deal

The Magpies are believed to be closing in on a deal for the France Under-21 star.

Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot has given a major hint Newcastle United transfer target Hugo Ekitike is moving closer towards a move away from the Ligue 1 club.

The French Under-21 international is believed to be in talks with the Magpies and reports in France have suggested a fee has been agreed between the two clubs over the last few days.

United have a long-standing interest in the highly-rated 19-year-old and made a move for his services during the final day of the January transfer window.

Ekitike opted to remain in France but could now make a long-awaited move to Tyneside with the Magpies looking to have beaten competition from a number of other interested clubs.

Caillot gave a lengthy interview with French outlet France Bleu and suggested Reims have received a ‘concrete offer’ from an English club and seemed to give a major hint that it is Newcastle.

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.”

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.

Caillot discussed what level of offer would be acceptable as his club look to receive a significant fee for their prized asset.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

With a fee and deal structure edging closer to agreement, Caillot also seemed to confirm the move is now in the hands of Ekitike and his representatives.

“They have not yet started to move forward on the file on which we agree,” he explained.

“This is their game (discussing the player’s agents), plus there are multiple agent structures. There are big agent firms that have connections in all directions, and it is often easier to work with these people than agents who have only one player.

“I spent enough time like Mathieu Lacour on the transfer of Axel Disasi who was advised by his brother, and it was very complicated. So, I hope that will not be the case with Hugo.”