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Hugo Ekitike: French striker holds positive talks with Newcastle after Reims give him permission to talk to Magpies

Newcastle have been given permission to speak to Ekitike while the Magpies and Reims still negotiate a contract; Eddie Howe tried to sign the striker in January but he stayed in France; the teenager scored ten goals in 24 Ligue 1 appearances

Hugo Ekitike
Image: Hugo Ekitike scored ten goals in 24 Ligue 1 appearances last season

Newcastle have held positive talks with Reims striker Hugo Ekitike after the French club gave the 19-year-old permission to speak to the Magpies. 

Sky Sports News has been told the player's representatives were allowed to speak to the Premier League club as the clubs continue to finalise a deal.

A fee worth around €30m (£25.6m) is under discussion surrounding the striker who scored ten goals in 24 Ligue 1 appearances last season, who would sign a five-year contract at St James' Park should the two clubs agree a fee.

Newcastle came close to signing the France U21 International in January and have returned for the player in the summer window.

Reims' Hugo Ekitike pictured with PSG's Kylian Mbappe (AP)
Image: Reims' Hugo Ekitike pictured with PSG's Kylian Mbappe (AP)

Ekitike is one of four strikers Newcastle have discussed as they embark on their first summer transfer window since their Saudi-led takeover was approved at the back end of last year.

Magpies also want wide man

Newcastle United are also in the market for a right-winger this summer with Bayer Leverkusen's Moussa Diaby & Watford's Ismaila Sarr being looked at.

Diaby has a contract that runs until 2025 at Leverkusen. The 22-year-old scored 17 goals and registered 14 assists in both the Bundesliga and the Europa League last season.

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Ismaila Sarr celebrates scoring Watford's equaliser
Image: Ismaila Sarr celebrates scoring for Watford

Sarr is entering the final two years of his Watford contract and Sky Sports News has been told the Hornet would "consider sensible offers".

Watford were relegated from the Premier League last season, with Sarr scoring five goals in that campaign - one of them was during a 1-1 draw against Newcastle last September.

Which positions are Newcastle targeting?

Newcastle transfers
Image: Newcastle transfers

Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie:

Eddie Howe made big changes in January with five new arrivals - and expect him to make a similar foray into the market in his second transfer window in charge.

The Newcastle boss is at pains to describe the situation at the club as an "Evolution" rather than a "Revolution", but he knows exactly the areas he wants to strengthen.

Howe will bring in another goalkeeper, with Man Utd's Dean Henderson high up his wishlist. A new central defender will also be added despite Dan Burn arriving in January and Fabian Schar signing a new deal in May.

There remains a question mark over Jamaal Lascelles' long-term future at the club, and it could well be the case that the club captain leaves to accommodate a new centre-back. Newcastle attempted to buy Lille's Sven Botman and Seville's Diego Carlos in the winter window. Expect the club to target someone of similar ilk.

Newcastle fans are desperate to see Brazil midfielder Lucas Paqueta come to the club, but they would have to blow the majority of their budget on one player if they were to land Bruno Guimaraes' best mate. It's more likely, however, that Howe will attempt to add at left-back and up-front while sticking with the midfield he currently has at his disposal.

Hugo Ekitike came close to sealing a move to Tyneside on Deadline Day in January, but decided to stay put at Reims. Newcastle remain interested, but so too do some of the top clubs in Europe. The teenager would command a fee in the region of £30m, but could fill in both on the wing and in a central striking role so could be worth the price tag. He is the sort of young, project-signing that Howe craves.

Hugo Ekitike of Reims in Ligue 1 action against Saint-Etienne
Image: Hugo Ekitike of Reims in Ligue 1 action against Saint-Etienne

The left-back situation is an interesting one: Newcastle have the option to make Matt Targett's Aston Villa loan a permanent one for £15m, however, the club have been watching Atletico Madrid's Renan Lodi - among others - for some time and may decide to spend a bit more on a more attacking option instead.

Newcastle spent £95m in January, there could be a similar sort of outlay again if they were to add in the four or five areas outlined above.

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