By Alex McLeish

17th Jun, 2022 | 8:08am

Newcastle United 'held to ransom' amid Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike updates - pundit

Alex McLeish has urged Newcastle United to move onto other targets after struggling to sign Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike.

The former Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, cannot afford to be “held to ransom” in transfer negotiations.

As reported by the Daily Mail’s Craig Hope on Wednesday (15 June), talks with Lille over Botman, 22, have hit a stalemate regarding the transfer fee, while Ekitike’s agent is holding up a move for the Reims striker.

The Magpies reportedly have alternatives they have identified but want to push for their top targets.

As revealed by Football Insider on Thursday (16 June), AC Milan have now moved into pole position to sign Botman.

McLeish suggested Newcastle should now look to sign their second-choice targets, rather than persisting in negotiations.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Definitely, people will up the ante because of the Newcastle owners. I get that.

“Normally you have certain prices, like property. You know that it’s going to be around that figure, so it should be the same for the players. If you’re getting held to ransom, I don’t think you can survive that.

“Go for your second target. Maybe they’ve got four people on their little list and maybe they’ve got to go for somebody else.

“Yeah, it’s great to get the best ones but if some people, other clubs are (being difficult), you have to say no. That’s the price he’s worth. It’s like buying a house, that’s the price the house is worth.”

Newcastle’s made Matt Targett their first senior signing of the summer.

The Magpies spent £15million to turn the defender’s loan move from Aston Villa permanent.

In other news, “ridiculous” Newcastle United transfer claim issued after £50million update.