One of the most frustrating aspects of this window is breaking news from reports that directly contradict each other. Newcastle’s pursuits of both Hugo Ekitike and Sven Botman have been rife with pendulum swings.
Again this morning there are disparate claims regarding Hugo Ekitike. Lee Ryder reported that talks have progressed between NUFC sporting director Dan Ashworth and Ekitike’s agent over the past few days.
He added that staff was on standby for the player’s arrival should a breakthrough be reached. The hold-up is down to agents’ fees. By Ryder’s account, the 20-year-old is pushing to get the deal sorted.
The latest from The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards paints a far different and darker picture. Edwards is reporting the lines of communication have gone silent with no contact in the past week.
There are fears inside St. James’ Park that the Frenchman doesn’t want the move as calls have not been returned. Newcastle have, however, reached a full agreement with Reims for an initial payment of £12m rising to £26m.
The update on Botman is only slightly less worrying. Lille have refused to come down from their increased demands. A few weeks ago, Edwards revealed Lille raised the asking price to £37m after weeks of negotiating a £30m fee.
Botman, who is also on holiday, is keen on the move. AC Milan have not even matched Newcastle’s offer of £30m so appear to be out of the running at this stage. Botman is currently waiting on a bid to be accepted.
There are claims from France that Lille’s owners have grown frustrated with the lack of player sales. This has put president Olivier Letang’s job in jeopardy. Whether this impacts the club’s stance on Botman’s valuation remains to be seen.
Newcastle have now moved on to other options at both striker and center-back according to Edwards. They simply cannot expend any more energy on these two targets with preseason just around the corner.
Time will tell what happens moving forward. As Mehrdad Ghodoussi tweeted to a frustrated fan last week, ‘Patience is a virtue’.