By Wayne Veysey

5th Apr, 2022 | 3:22pm

Sources: Critical update on Newcastle United bid to sign Hugo Ekitike after talks held

Newcastle United have made Hugo Ekitike their number one forward target this summer and are in pole position to land him, Football Insider understands.

The Magpies tried to sign the Stade Reims striker in January but had a £20m-plus bid knocked back after extensive talks.

A Newcastle source has told Football Insider the club have continued to keep tabs on the France Under-21 international and Eddie Howe has made him a top target.

He is valued at the £25m mark by the Ligue 1 club.

The source added that Newcastle believe they are in the driving seat to win the race for Ekitike over rivals due to their long-standing interest and ambitious project.

West Ham also held talks for the 19-year-old back in January but he ended up remaining with Reims.

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He turned down a move to Newcastle, despite the two clubs agreeing a deadline day deal.

However, the Magpies have not been put off and have continued to keep tabs on the hitman ahead of a summer move.

Ekitike has netted 10 goals in 23 games for Reims this summer and is regarded as one of the most exciting young prospects in France.

However, his season has been curtailed by a hamstring injury suffered back in February.

Newcastle were keen to add Ekitike as cover and competition for January signing Chris Wood.

The north east giants signed the New Zealand international from Burnley, with Callum Wilson out through injury.

The 30-year-old has started every game under Eddie Howe but has only scored once.

Newcastle’s other striking option is Dwight Gayle, who has played just 27 minutes of Premier League football this term.

In other news, Newcastle United tld to pay “over the odds” to seal deal after Dan Ashworth update.