West Ham in pole position for exciting Ligue Un teenager after Newcastle set ‘impossible’ conditions

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The football transfer window can be an unforgiving time for certain clubs, and Newcastle United are certainly finding that out to their cost.

The Magpies, despite being flush with cash after the recent takeover by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund, are having difficulties in securing many of their targets.

Some, however, have been of their own making.

Sky Sports report that the North East giants were interested in Reims’ highly-rated 19-year-old, Hugo Ekitike, but their strange negotiating tactics seems to have put them completely out of the race for a player that’s scored eight goals in 10 Ligue Un games in 2021/22.

“It is true that many [clubs] now realise the qualities of the player, but not us. He was trained with us and what he does does not surprise us,” Reims president, Jean-Pierre Caillot, said to Le Quotidien du Sport, cited by Sky Sports.

David Moyes and Eddie Howe

“Newcastle positioned themselves, we discussed it, [and] they made a proposal which does not suit us. As we don’t necessarily want to see him leave, we have set the bar quite high.

“They offered us €35m (£29.1m) in total but with many bonuses, some of which were almost impossible to achieve – like, for example, winning the Champions League.

“We want €30m (£24.9m) fixed plus €10m (£8.3m) in realisable bonuses.”

That has let in other clubs, and Sky Sports are now reporting that West Ham United lead the race for Ekitike’s signature.

The Hammers are desperate to either partner Michail Antonio with another striker, or have one in hand should the Jamaican international succumb to injury.

This exact situation has been going on for over a year and David Moyes really can’t afford to allow it to fester for another half season.

With the Hammers again pushing for Europe, and the team having been so cohesive as a unit over the last 18 months or so, not ensuring they’re covered in all areas would be asking for trouble.

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