NEWCASTLE United's chances of signing Reims striker Hugo Ekitike have been dealt a further blow after he told his club's manager he wants to remain in France.

The Magpies have a fee agreed with the French side in the region of around £25 million but the deal continues to stall as a result of agents and representatives fees.

Newcastle, who have grown increasingly frustrated at not being able to strike a deal, are set to abandon a potential deal and pursue targets elsewhere with the beginning of the season just over a month away. According to RMC Sport, Ekitike has told his club that he has no desire to make the switch to Tyneside for next season.

Reims manager Oscar Garcia told French media: “He told me wanted to stay, but if there’s Real Madrid and Barcelona who come knocking... “I find Hugo calm. I spoke with him. He will have no problem staying at the club, and neither will I.”

In January, Newcastle had a deal in place to bring Ekitike to the club only for the Frenchman to abandon the move on transfer deadline day.

The 20-year-old scored ten goals in 25 appearances in Ligue 1 last season and has also been the subject of reported interest from last season's title winners Paris St Germain.

Newcastle United's first-team squad reported to the club's Darsley Park training ground yesterday for pre-season training. They are due to travel to Austria and Portugal this month for friendly matches.