Newcastle United have Stade de Reims star Hugo Ekitike still on their transfer agenda after failing to sign him in the winter market.
The French club’s president, Jean-Pierre Caillot, has given a lengthy interview to France Bleu.
He detailed why Newcastle United, or any another interested club, failed to take the 19-year-old away from Reims in January.
“In this environment, there are many people who are interested, but what is essential is to get a written offer,” he said.
“But it is very complicated. Because some clubs, including some agents, use the written offer to go around ‘cooking’ with the written offer to make things go up.
“So, it is very difficult and suddenly, it is especially in the last phases that we receive written offers. So, we had interest in January from all over Europe, that’s true, but no written offers.”
Two days ago, Foot Mercato stated that Newcastle United have ‘reached an agreement’ with the Ligue 1 side for Ekitike. On Thursday, TuttoMercatoWeb explaned the two clubs have a deal in place, but the attacker has ‘no plans to accept the transfer’.
With claims of Eddie Howe’s side tabling an offer, Caillot was specifically quizzed if he has now received any concrete proposals for Ekitike.
“Yes. 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,” the Reims chief explained.
“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.”
France Bleu claim that Newcastle United made the offer for the Frenchman. When pressed to provide the detail of that club, Caillot said: “We remain discreet but hey… it’s an English club so we [you] understand which club we’re talking about… [smiles]”
The president also discussed the fee his side are hoping to collect for Ekitike this summer.
“So, 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 added.
“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.”
A final decision over a summer move to Newcastle will be left in the hands of the player’s representatives.
“They have not yet started to move forward on the file on which we agree,” the French club’s chief said.
When asked if the agents are using this offer, Caillot explained: “Most likely. This is their game, 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.”