According to ESPN, Manchester United have made inquiries about Stade de Reims’ star forward Hugo Ekitike in the runup to the upcoming summer transfer window. Incoming manager Erik ten Hag wants to restructure the frontline at United and has identified the French striker as one of the potential candidates to help him move forward.
Ekitike has been impressive for the French side so far this season, having put up 9 goals and 3 assists in 22 games in the Ligue 1 this season (stats via Transfermarkt). The 19-year-old has impressed at Reims and has even drawn comparisons to his French compatriot, Kylian Mbappe. His meteoric rise to stardom after stellar performances has drawn in questions about the youngster’s next step.
The 19-year-old has attracted interest not just from Man United but also from the newly wealthy Newcastle who had almost signed him for £12 million on deadline day in January but couldn’t complete the move because the player wasn’t ready to make the switch to the Premier League just yet. Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Premier League rivals Arsenal are reportedly also in the fray, as per reports.
United are expected to struggle in the forward department next season. Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard are coming to the end of their contracts at the end of the season and are expected to leave without renewal. They are left with an out-of-sorts Marcus Rashford and an uncertain Anthony Martial.
It is difficult to see how United could cope next season with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, and Anthony Elanga being the only players pulling the weight of the entire frontline for the whole season. Interim manager, Ralf Rangnick, has suggested that the club need two strikers in the upcoming transfer window and Manchester United must target rising talents instead of established names to make headway in their pursuit of success, Hugo Ekitike fits this bill in this aspect.
Similar to the Red Devils, the Gunners could see two key forwards – Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette, bid farewell too. With a lack of depth in the frontline, Arsenal look to bulk up their squad with the inclusion of Ekitike.
Rumours suggest that Robert Lewandowski could be on his way out from Bavaria to sunny Spain as the Polish striker seems to be pushing for a transfer from Bayern Munich to Barcelona next season, according to the Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (via Express). However, the German club wish to ascertain a worthy replacement before letting the 33-year-old striker go. And that replacement might just be the young under-20 Reims star.
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Though Hugo Ekitike has impressed massively and has made a stellar breakthrough that suggests immense potential in his footballing ability, perhaps a move to a massive club such as Arsenal, Manchester United, or Bayern Munich might be a change too big soon. Still just 19, the 21/22 season has been the Frenchman’s first full season, where he has been awarded significant playtime.
Perhaps, giving the youngster a couple more seasons at Reims and monitoring his progress might be a better decision for United. This goes for the player as well; lack of minutes is a very real possibility if he chooses to move over to a bigger club, so developing at a team where minutes are guaranteed, and exposure is abundant might be the smarter move for the Reims no. 22.
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