According to Foot Mercato, Chelsea have entered the race to sign Hugo Ekitike. The Reims forward is currently one of the most talked-about young attackers in Ligue 1, with various clubs keeping close tabs on his development.
The Blues have approached Reims to explore the possibility of a summer move, with Thomas Tuchel keen on attacking reinforcements.
In addition to Chelsea, Barcelona are another top club interested in acquiring the services of Etitike in the summer. Reims, though, are not too keen on offloading their prized asset for cheap and are likely to hold out for a fee of around €40 million.
A product of the Reims academy, Ekitike has been one of the rising stars in Ligue 1 this season. In 18 league appearances, he has racked up eight goals and three assists, meaning he has been involved in 50% of his club’s goals this term. Needless to say, his performances in front of goal have been crucial in helping Reims stay out of the relegation scrap.
The young centre forward was initially courted by Newcastle United earlier in the January transfer window. They were reportedly in advanced talks to sign the teenage sensation. And it appears manager Eddie Howe has retained his interest in the player despite the recent capture of Chris Wood from Burnley.
However, the Magpies are set to face stiff competition from league rivals Chelsea. It seems the reigning European giants are bracing themselves for a major rebuild in their offensive department, especially with Timo Werner facing an uncertain future at the club. The German international has notably been linked with a summer move to Borussia Dortmund as a potential replacement for Erling Haaland.
Perhaps more importantly, Chelsea are running the risk of losing Romelu Lukaku as well. The Belgian international is unhappy with Tuchel’s project at Stamford Bridge and is reportedly gunning for a return to Inter Milan. Although a move to San Siro might not be a possibility anymore, the striker has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain in recent weeks.
Lukaku’s potential exit should pave the way nicely for Chelsea to invest in a young player like Ekitike, who has the potential to become a star player in the league.
However, for a fee of €40 million, the youngster might prove to be a major gamble, especially given his lack of experience at the highest level of football. It could potentially hand Newcastle United the advantage, knowing the Magpies should not have any troubles in flexing their newfound financial muscle.