NEWCASTLE UNITED are considering a January move for long-term attacking target Hugo Ekitike as they look to strengthen their resources while staying on the right side of the Premier League’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

The Magpies’ recruitment team are considering a range of different options for the January window, with the acquisition of a centre-forward, central midfielder and centre-half regarded as essential given the gaps that have appeared within Eddie Howe’s squad during the first half of the season.

With Callum Wilson and Alexander Isak both having suffered injury issues in the last month, there is a strong desire to recruit a new forward for the second half of the campaign.

However, with Newcastle having come close to reaching the financial limits imposed by FFP rules during the summer window, there is also an acknowledgment that the signing of a permanent addition capable of making an immediate impact on the first team is an unlikely scenario for January.

A loan deal with a view to a possible permanent transfer in the summer is a more realistic option, with Howe and the rest of the Magpies’ recruitment team having drawn up a list of potential targets that is understood to feature Ekitike in a prominent position.

Newcastle made a number of attempts to sign the 21-year-old in 2022’s January transfer window, just a couple of months after the completion of Amanda Staveley’s Saudi Arabia-backed takeover.

The French forward was in the middle of his breakthrough season with Reims, and Newcastle tabled a series of bids, with their final offer reportedly worth around €30m.


Reims were willing to do business, but Ekitike was aware of competing interest from Paris St Germain and opted to see out the 2021-22 season with Reims before moving to the Parc des Princes in the summer of 2022.

He initially joined PSG on loan, with the reigning Ligue 1 champions completing a permanent deal for around €35m this summer, but his time in the French capital has not gone to plan.

Ekitike has made just 26 league appearances for PSG, scoring three goals, with his solitary first-team outing during the current campaign having seen him make a nine-minute substitute appearance in August’s goalless draw with Lorient.

He was not included in Paris St Germain’s squad for the Champions League, hence his absence from the club’s 4-1 defeat on Tyneside last month, and was not part of the 20-man matchday squad for PSG’s most recent league game, which was a 3-0 win at Reims prior to the international break.

Ekitike was linked with a possible move to England during the summer transfer window, only for interest from both West Ham and Crystal Palace to fail to result in a deal.

There is an expectation that the youngster will be leaving PSG in January though, and Newcastle are keen to try to push through a loan deal that would enable them to integrate Ekitike into their first-team squad in the second half of the season without an initial commitment to a long-term deal.

However, the Magpies would be keen to negotiate an agreement with PSG that would enable them to trigger a permanent deal in the summer if Ekitike proved his worth in the Premier League, with the financial restrictions imposed by FFP set to begin to ease at the end of the current campaign.

Newcastle's main January midfield target remains England international Kalvin Phillips, with a loan deal for the Manchester City exile regarded as a viable option.

As would be the case with Ekitike, the Newcastle hierarchy will attempt to negotiate a clause for a future permanent transfer as part of any loan deal for Phillips, who has accepted he will have to leave the Etihad Stadium at the start of the new year in an attempt to safeguard his squad place at next summer's Euros finals in Germany.

Newcastle were also linked with a possible move for Santos striker Marcos Leonardo over the weekend.

The 20-year-old Brazilian has already made more than 150 senior appearances in Brazilian football, and has scored 13 goals in 27 appearances for Santos this season.

He scored five goals in five games at this year’s Under-20s World Cup, and is expected to leave Santos when the Brazilian top-flight season ends in January, with a switch to Europe likely to be on the cards.

It has been suggested that a clause in Leonardo’s contract means he could be available for around €20m, with Newcastle mentioned on a lengthy list of potential suitors in the South American media that also features Real Madrid, Sevilla and Roma.