Why Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd boosted over Ekitike transfer
Newcastle were to the front of the queue during the January transfer window but saw an offer of €35 million (£29m) knocked by the French side.
Reims, however, are unlikely to reject such a deal should it arise again in the summer.
“He’s a boy with enormous qualities so we’re going to take a slightly different approach to the one we normally do,” president Jean-Pierre Caillot told Europe1. “We generally take a youngster into the first team very slowly, allow him to grow with our team and then go somewhere else. In Hugo’s case, he would waste time staying with us
"We refused an offer of €35 million this winter, which is a lot of money for a club like ours.
"That money will be used to grow and improve the club. Hugo will be allowed to go, and he’s probably going to leave.
"There wasn’t a big club that didn’t inquire for him."
Ekitike likened to Mbappe
Ekitike has made a splash in what has effectively been his debut season in Ligue 1, scoring nine goals and creating two more in 21 appearances. Indeed, he would have played more regularly but for a troublesome hamstring issue that he has struggled to shake off.
Such statistics – as well as his Cameroonian heritage – have earned the France Under-21 international comparisons with PSG striker Kylian Mbappe, yet he is more of a pure No.9 than the World Cup winner. He thrives around the penalty box, but does not shirk his defensive duties.
There is much to like about the 19-year-old’s game, and it now seems only a matter of time before he makes the step up. Where that will be is yet unclear, but it appears he will have his choice of clubs given the intense transfer interest in him.