In an interview with L’Equipe, Reims striker Hugo Ekitike has revealed “the timing wasn’t right” on his January deadline day move to Newcastle.
The 19-year-old seemed destined to wear a black and white shirt in January after Eddie Howe made him a priority to add to his striking options.
However, he decided to stay at Reims for a full season and went on to score nine goals and add four assists in 23 Ligue 1 appearances, helping his team to a mid-table finish.
Thankfully, despite our starting forward Chris Wood only scoring two goals in his 16 appearances, Newcastle were able to push on from the bottom three and into mid table – even without the young man’s talents.
When asked about why the move failed, the Frenchman said: “I have a lot of respect for that big club. But it was all happening very quickly, the timing wasn’t right. It was better to stay here, to play a full season, to establish myself.”
On the future window, he added: “I see it being lively! I think people will show interest in me. On my end, I’ll stay calm because I’m surrounded by the right people to manage all of that.”
It remains to be seen whether Newcastle will return with another bid for the youngster, but reports suggest there is still a lot of interest from our end.