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Newcastle have opened talks with Reims for Hugo Ekitike in their bid to bring in a striker before Saturday’s match against relegation rivals Watford.

The Premier League side have made an informal offer, but it has fallen short of Reims’ £30m valuation of the in-form France U20 international, with talks continuing between the two clubs.

The Magpies are expected to make a formal offer, but could face competition for the striker with two unnamed Premier League clubs also interested.

Ekitike, who made his debut for Reims in August, has scored eight goals in 17 Ligue 1 appearances this season and registered three assists. The 19-year-old can also play on the left wing.

Newcastle have been scrambling to replace top scorer Callum Wilson, who head coach Eddie Howe said would be out with a calf injury for two months after Saturday’s shock FA Cup third-round defeat to Cambridge United.

Newcastle are keen to avoid playing Saturday’s match at home to Watford, who sit two points above them, without a recognised striker, having scored just 19 goals in 21 matches this season.

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The club have been working through a lengthy list of possible targets to try and make additions to a squad that has been affected by injury and Covid-19.

Newcastle are also attempting to add in defence following the arrival of Kieran Trippier.

They lodged a second bid worth £29.3m for Lille’s Sven Botman on Friday, but the French club value him at nearer to £35m.

 

 


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