Monday, March 20, 2023

Newcastle United Were Close To Recruiting This Ligue 1 Forward: Should Howe Go Back In For Him?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent print edition, L’Union stated that Newcastle United were close to recruiting Stade Reims forward Hugo Ekitike during the January transfer window. However, a move failed to materialize for the Magpies last month with the French striker deciding to stay in his homeland for the time being.

Ekitike’s Impressive Rise In French Football This Season

Ekitike is having a great season in the Ligue 1 as he has managed to produce some impressive displays as the focal point of the Reims attack. The 19-year-old has banged in nine goals and secured four assists in 21 matches for the French outfit this season across multiple competitions.

The talented frontman deserves a pat on the back for averaging 1.3 shots, 0.7 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per 90 minutes in Ligue 1. However, he has been a bit careless when distributing the ball deep inside the opponent’s half after completing 67.3% of his attempted passes in the French first division (stats via whoscored).

Newcastle United (Hugo Ekitike)
Reims’s forward Hugo Ekitike celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and FC Nantes at Stade Auguste Delaune in Reims, northern France on September 26, 2021. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP) (Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)
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Should Newcastle United Go Back In For Ekitike Next Summer?

Ekitike is a quick and agile forward who can make a few encouraging runs in behind the opposition backline. He is slowly but surely transforming himself into a decent finisher in the final third and has also performed well to chip in with a few assists this season.

The French marksman has the potential to become a future star in European football. Therefore, Newcastle United would be wise to go back in for him in the summer as they will have enough time to get a deal done for him. At 19, Ekitike is still quite young and still has a lot of time to develop into a top goal-scorer at the highest level.

For now, the Magpies need to focus all their energy on surviving relegation from the Premier League. If they manage to stay up, Newcastle boss Eddie Howe would have a good chance to convince Ekitike to join his revolution at St. James’ Park as the lure of regular top-flight football in England might be too tempting for the youngster to turn down.

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