Reims president Jean-Pierre Caillot has confirmed that Liverpool and Manchester United striker target Hugo Ekitike will likely leave this summer.
The 19-year-old made his initial breakthrough last season with two Ligue 1 appearances. However, he has become a fully-fledged first teamer this term with 21 league outings to his name.
And Ekitike scored eight goals before the turn of the year, subsequently attracting a wealth of January transfer interest.
Newcastle came closest but could not get a deal over the line. Sky Sports News reported on deadline day that the Magpies had a bid of £25million, rising to £33million, accepted by Reims. However, the teenager opted to stay in France.
Nevertheless, Reims chief Caillot has confirmed that Ekitike will likely leave this summer.
“In Hugo’s case, he would waste time staying with us,” the club’s president told Europe1.
“We refused an offer of €35million [£29million] 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.”
Indeed, reports after the January transfer window claimed that the Premier League’s ‘big six’ all began monitoring Ekitike.
Representatives from Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal watched the player in action as he scored in Reims’ 5-0 win over Bordeaux in their first match after the window closed.
Newcastle were there too, as well as a host of top European clubs like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
As a result, Caillot is expecting more big bids for his star striker this summer and will not stand in Ekitike’s way.
Ekitike getting over hamstring injury
While Ekitike starred with a goal in that particular win over Bordeaux, that was in fact his last strike for the club.
He suffered a hamstring injury four games later and has yet to return.
Indeed, he suffered a setback in his recovery at the start of April which will see his return date put back.
Should Ekitike end up not making it back before the end of the season, he will look forward to pre-season and potentially a summer of change in his career.