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Hugo Ekitike has been done no favours by Head Coach comments on Newcastle United bid

2 years ago

The Reims FC Head Coach has been asked about the Hugo Ekitike situation.

It was 1 June 2022 when the Ligue 1 club’s President, Jean-Pierre Caillot, revealed to French media (see below) that Reims FC had accepted an offer for the then 19 year old striker.

Now we have reached 1 July 2022 and Hugo Ekitike has in the meantime turned 20, whilst Newcastle United fans have aged what feels like many years, having had to endure daily / hourly ‘updates’ on the ‘progress’ of this transfer.

A month ago the French club’s President said that after accepting Newcastle’s offer, it was now (then) down to Hugo Ekitike and his agents to concluded the deal, if they wanted to…

One month on and with the Reims FC squad having started pre-season training, without Hugo Ekitike who was injured whilst playing for the France Under 20s last month, the team boss has been asked about the Newcastle target’s future…

Reims FC Head Coach Oscar Garcia press conference today (1 July 2022) as reported by RMC Sport:

“He (Hugo Ekitike) told me he wanted to stay but if Real Madrid or Barcelona are coming…

“Hugo feels calm.

“I have spoken with him.

“He will have no problem staying at the club and neither will I!”

Back in January, Jean-Pierre Caillot accepted an offer from Newcastle United, only for Hugo Ekitike to turn the move down, indicating that it was too soon to consider a move, as he had only made 11 Ligue 1 starts so far and wanted to stay at Reims FC for the time being as he wanted to keep playing regular first team football.

Moving forward six months and Hugo Ekitike has now started 15 Ligue 1 matches so far in his career, having picked up an injury very soon after turning Newcastle United down (the first time…) and only managing four more league starts last season.

I think the reality is that if he did / does sign for Newcastle United, then at least initially the now 20 year wouldn’t be getting a lot of first team minutes, almost certainly a regular on the bench for some time.

I don’t think the Reims FC Head Coach has done the situation any favours, by making what sounds to me like an attempt at a light-hearted joke from him about Real Madrid and Barcelona. As I doubt this is what Hugo Ekitike has actually said…and even if he had, he wouldn’t be wanting his team boss telling the world!

Probably time to draw a line under this one (again!) and in reality, that is what Newcastle United have probably already done. There’d been widespread reports that NUFC had started looking at alternatives ‘just in case’ Hugo Ekitike wasn’t going to happen if indeed there was any truth in the Barcelona / Real Madrid comments then going to either of them would see the 20 year old even further removed from first team football.

I suppose maybe one of the problems Newcastle United have, is that they appear to be looking for a young striker with potential who would be part of the first team squad but willing to be a regular on the bench at least initially. As opposed to say Newcastle United buying Hugo Ekitike or whoever, then instantly loaning them back to their current club for the season, as often happens with promising young players. NUFC not really in a position to go down that route, as they can’t (in my opinion) afford to buy somebody for significant money at this point and not have them as part of the attacking options this season at St James’ Park. Callum Wilson will be first choice and with Chris Wood as cover, they definitely need somebody else who can offer maybe something different, even if it is off the bench in the near future. Dwight Gayle surely need to be moving on at this point to get some regular football himself.

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 understand 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.”


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