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Not Newcastle United pushing Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike transfer sagas

1 week ago

I sense a ‘little’ frustration amongst Newcastle United fans when it comes to the transfer window, especially the Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike (potential / possible) signings.

Only 12 days to go before the Newcastle United first team squad report back for pre-season.

Whilst less than seven weeks now until United kick off the season at St James Park, Nottingham Forest the visitors.

The release of the Premier League fixtures also tends to help focus the mind, a reminder that the new season is rapidly approaching and also a big reminder of the challenges that lie ahead.

Which then brings us back to the transfer window / market.

Today (Sunday 19 June) is only the tenth day of the summer 2022 transfer window and another seventy four to go after that BUT with a shorter close season than normal, the race is on IF the intention is to have new signings fully integrated and up to speed in time for Saturday 6 August, when Forest come calling.

So will Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike be in the team that kicks off the season for Newcastle United?

The honest answer is, nobody knows. Well at least nobody outside of those parties who are potentially getting the deals done.

Newcastle United fans are no strangers to media overload when it comes to transfer windows.

However, this one is a bit different.

In the past, it was transparently obvious that so often it was Mike Ashley and his minions feeding the media, trying to convince fans that the club were really trying to improve the team / squad, that the manager / head coach was been supported etc etc, doing everything they possibly could to strengthen ahead of the season.

So often though, the reality / end of transfer windows showed / proved something completely different.

In the final 14 months and two transfer windows of his time in control, Mike Ashley only allowed one player, Joe Willock, to be signed. This despite countless players linked with Newcastle United, many of those stories undoubtedly (in my opinion) pushed by Ashley’s people.

That was hardly an isolated example, as of course we had the bizarre experience of Mike Ashley appointing JFK as Director of Football for two transfer windows, just so that everybody would blame supposed JFK incompetence for not a single player bought in that time. Reality of course was that Mike Ashley had no intention of allowing any players at all to be bought in over the course of that year / season / two windows. That though didn’t prevent NUFC been linked with countless players that they were supposedly trying to buy. The reality instead was Loic Remy allowed to be signed on loan for a season and Luuk de Jong on loan for half a season, instead of buying players.

Which brings us back to now, the present day situation.

Things are totally different now. I know that might seem like very much stating the obvious but I think a very vocal minority of Newcastle fans need reminding of this.

This new Newcastle United set-up are doing everything they can to bring the right players (at the right price) into St James Park.

It isn’t an exact science and so many factors / people involved, transfers are often not straightforward, especially the higher up the food chain you get. Whilst it isn’t difficult signing Henri Saivet and Jeff Hendrick, or bringing in Nabil Bentaleb and Danny Rose on loan, with Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike it is a very different situation, players who are much sought after.

The current / new Newcastle United set-up are pushing as hard as possible to get the right players in BUT they aren’t pushing the stories in the media. Those days are gone. Those Mike Ashley days of putting many times more effort into trying to make out the club were trying as hard as possible to sign the right players, as opposed to actually doing it.

Just a reminder…

Sven Botman asked by Dutch media outlet Algemeen Dagblad on 2 June 2022 if he had played his last game for Lille:

“I don’t know, but I think so, I intend to take a step (to another club).

‘Talks are underway now.

“I won’t go into all of that but it is going well.

“I do hope that the transfer for the new season is completed (as soon as possible), preferably in time for the pre-season (at a new club).

“Milan and Newcastle are interested, yes, (but) I can’t and won’t say much more about it.

“What I want is to take a nice step towards a nice competition. I am also looking forward to a new step.

“I am aware of what I want…you weigh all kinds of things and then the total picture has to suit you. I must have a very good feeling about it.”

I don’t attach any real blame on Sven Botman in this case BUT the fact remains that it was he who seventeen days ago stated that Newcastle United were trying to sign him. As this month has progressed, plenty of NUFC media has continued to report and ‘update’ on the Sven Botman to Newcastle transfer BUT none of this has been pushed by the actual club. Unlike in the past.

Also seventeen days ago…

Jean-Pierre Caillot speaking to – Published 2 June 2022:

“Let’s talk about the Hugo Ekitike file, we read and hear a lot. Just one question: do you have, as we speak (Editor’s note: the interview was carried out on Wednesday June 1), one or more concrete and written offers for the player?”

“Yes. Today, it 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.

“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.”

“What club is it?”

“We remain discreet but hey… it’s an English club so we understood which club we’re talking about… (smiles).”

“Quite frankly, did you expect to see Hugo Ekitike reach this level very quickly and emerge so quickly in Ligue 1?”

“It’s been years since (Reims Sporting Director) Mathieu Lacour told me that we had a nugget in store.

“Where I was surprised, like all supporters, was how quickly he emerged.

“So it’s true, he was helped by the context because in fact he was 4th striker in the hierarchy and then the injury game also meant that he was able to show all his qualities.

“It also makes me smile today, because it sometimes seems that it would be the end of the Stade de Reims if he (Hugo Ekitike) were to leave us when a year ago, 90% of the people (supporters) did not know him.”

I think in the case of the Reims FC President however, we can point the finger.

How did it help anybody when he volunteered at the start of this month that Newcastle United’s offer for Hugo Ekitike had been accepted?

Once again, this isn’t the Newcastle United end of things pushing stuff in the media. Indeed, I have no doubt they were less than impressed by the Ligue 1 club’s President putting it in the public domain, rather than just getting on with the deal in private, behind the scenes, to help get it completed.

You can only imagine that Reims FC did this to try and help maybe prompt other interested clubs to make their own, better offers for Hugo Ekitike, to get more cash in than Newcastle were offering.

Indeed, with the Sven Botman case, the selling club trying to get more and more money from selling the player, certainly appears to be the case. With claims of moving the goalposts, asking for more and more money but Newcastle United refusing to be held to ransom.

Without other people, other clubs, pushing these Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike transfer sagas in the media, I think things would be far more relaxed and far fewer Newcastle fans losing the plot.

Yes, we would all still be hoping for signings to made ASAP but we wouldn’t have spent this entire month so far questioning exactly why Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike haven’t signed so far, after the intended Newcastle deals were made public by others at the start of June. With then hourly / daily speculation following in the media, journalists guessing / inventing why the signings haven’t been concluded so far.


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