Newcastle United £30m transfer target finally makes his move – five months after Eddie Howe snub
Hugo Ekitike has finally made an impact at Paris Saint-Germain – five months after turning down a move to Newcastle United.
The French forward was a top target for Newcastle in the summer after he had previously turned the club down in January. A £30m transfer fee was agreed with Reims only for the deal to stall as Ekitike eventually joined Ligue 1 champions PSG on loan in July.
But it has been far from plain sailing for the 20-year-old since he arrived in the French capital. He has been limited to just two starts and 10 substitute appearances in all competitions heading into the World Cup break.
But the last week has provided some signs of encouragement as the youngster grabbed an assist when he started against Lorient earlier this month before following that up with his first PSG goal and another assist against Auxerre over the weekend. Ekitike was only on the pitch for 15 minutes but was able to help his side run out as convincing 5-0 winners at Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Ekitike faces stiff competition at PSG with Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe the club’s other attacking options.
PSG head coach Christophe Galtier has previously been constructively critical of the player and his lack of impact since joining the club.
Speaking prior to Ekitike’s recent turn in form, Galtier said: “I had a long discussion with Hugo last week. Obviously, he isn’t satisfied with his limited playing time. I told him that I was in part responsible, but that he was also responsible.”
“When you have the attacking trio that we have at PSG, that requires a lot of commitment and resilience and you have to keep going. When you play in place of one of them, there is a natural comparison. He has been disappointed at times, and rightfully so, at not starting certain matches.
“He has been disappointed, and I have explained my reasons. Clearly, he is a talented player, who must make up for his lack of game time in training. We have said that he must work more, must bring more intensity so that when he comes on, he can add more. He has lost confidence because he hasn’t played much.”