Newcastle United are reportedly the front-runners to secure the services of Stade Reims’ sensation Hugo Ekitike in the summer.

According to Football Insider, Newcastle United are leading the race to sign Stade Reims striker Hugo Ekitike this summer. The Magpies have made him their number one target despite failing with a bid for the youngster centre-forward in January.

Despite suffering a 5-1 thrashing to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, the Magpies currently sit 15th in the league, a healthy nine points above 18th-placed Watford. While they have not avoided the drop just yet, it would take some collapse for them to not be a Premier League club next season.

The Toon have already started planning their recruitment policy and potential player sales ahead of the upcoming transfer window, with the future of maverick winger Allan Saint-Maximin up for debate. It is widely suggested that they are likely to target young players with a high ceiling, as the new owners aim to build a team competent enough to challenge for trophies in the next few years.

With all of Callum Wilson, Chris Wood and Dwight Gayle pushing their thirties, a young striker may be at the top of the Newcastle hierarchy’s wishlist. To that end, Benfica’s Uruguayan hitman Darwin Nunez is among a slew of high-profile targets linked, along with Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Sociedad’s Alexander Isak, and Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick.

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Another familiar name on their wish list is Reims’ striker Hugo Ekitike. A product of the Reims academy, the 19-year-old is one of a number of rising young French stars threatening to develop into a world-class talent. The talented youngster has had an impressive breakout campaign for Reims this season in Ligue 1, notching up nine goals in just 21 top-flight games and setting up another three.

Needless to say, his performances in front of goal have been crucial in helping Reims stay out of the relegation scrap. However, the young French attacker has been sidelined with a hamstring injury picked up in February to the detriment of the French side.

Owing to the desperate demand for strikers across top clubs on the continent and considering the potential Ekitike quite clearly possesses, the talented forward is already being tracked by a plethora of elite clubs such as the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.

But, as per the report, newly-minted Newcastle are in pole position to secure the services of the young Frenchman thanks to their long-standing interest and ambitious project. They even came very close to signing Hugo Ekitike during the January transfer window, but the deal collapsed in the final hours of the deadline day.

However, the Tyneside giants have not been deterred by it and are keeping a close eye on the situation of the France Under-21 international — for whom the Ligue 1 club are believed to be demanding a fee in the region of £25 million. Whether the North-East outfit can get a deal over the line for Ekitike this summer remains to be seen, but as it stands, they are firmly in the driving seat for his signature.

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