Hugo Ekitike has impressed for Reims this season, contributing 10 goals and four assists in all competitions. The striker’s form saw him attract interest from Newcastle United and a few other clubs in the winter market.

Last week, Bild reported the Ligue 1 side and the Magpies had ‘already agreed’ a deal for the 19-year-old, but he wasn’t in favour of joining Eddie Howe’s side in January.

Newcastle are still in the picture for him and it was also explained the player, who is on Borussia Dortmund’s agenda, is looking to change clubs in the next window.

The France U20 international came up through the ranks of Reims’ youth system and made it to their first team in 2020. In the second half of the last season, the attacker was sent out on loan to Danish side, Vejle Boldklub.

Foot Mercato now claim Newcastle made a €35m offer to take Ekitike away from Reims in the last window. This is a sign of his progression, as per Vejle technical director, Henrik Tønder.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted his lightning progression, so of course we were also surprised [the amount offered by the Magpies]. We are just happy for Hugo and Reims, that both parties have the opportunity to achieve such a result,” Tønder said.

Ekitike managed only three goals and two assists from 11 matches for Vejile. Their chief has given an insight on the Frenchman’s short loan spell in Denmark.

“We have a very good relationship with Reims and their assistant sporting director. They advised us Hugo because he was a great talent who needed to play in a competitive league before he was ready for the Reims first team,” Tønder explained.

“Hugo took a little time to adapt, he was young, discovering a new country, new teammates, a new language. He didn’t play much at first, but mentally he was strong. Behind his great talent, Hugo was a fantastic guy, smiling, funny and a gentleman. Everyone loved Hugo.”

“Everyone could see his big potential and he really tapped into it as he progressed through the season. (…) When he scored his first goal for Vejle, we all understood that everything was going to follow.”