NEWCASTLE are growing frustrated in their pursuit of top targets Sven Botman and Hugo Ekitike.

Officials believe clubs are applying the same ‘Toon tax’ on the mega rich Saudi-owned Magpies as they did during the January transfer window.

Newcastle believe that Lille's Sven Botman wants to join them


Newcastle believe that Lille’s Sven Botman wants to join themCredit: Getty
They say they are being charged over the odds for him - and Reims star Hugo Ekitike


They say they are being charged over the odds for him – and Reims star Hugo EkitikeCredit: Getty

Despite reports in Italy claiming Lille centre-back Botman, 22, is waiting on a move to AC Milan, Newcastle insist he is keen on moving to Tyneside.

But the Mags are prepared to walk away and focus on other targets.

That was after the French club hiked their asking price from £26million to £35m.

Transfer guru Dan Ashworth is determined not to pay over the odds.

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And he retains an interest in Eintracht Frankfurt’s Evan Ndicka and Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly.

A fee rising to around £30m has been agreed with Reims for teen forward Ekitike.

Newcastle have been chasing the France U20 star – and Botman – since January and remain confident of securing his arrival this week.

However, agent fees are yet to be finalised with Toon fearing the 19-year-old’s representatives are waiting for fellow admirers Borussia Dortmund to make a move.

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Newcastle are also set to move for young Kilmarnock defender Charlie McArthur.

The highly-rated Scot, 17, made his pro debut for Killie last season.

He was previously targeted by Ashworth while technical director at Brighton.


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