Newcastle United have finally made a breakthrough in their hunt for top defensive target Sven Botman with talks now at an advanced stage with Ligue 1 club Lille. The two clubs have agreed a fee believed to be in the region of £30m pending medical.
The Magpies tried to sign the Dutch centre-back in January and faced competition from AC Milan, but Lille rejected three bids as they were reluctant to sell him. Sven Botman, 22, joined Lille from Ajax in 2020 and played a crucial role in the club’s Ligue 1 triumph a year later. So far, he has made 79 appearances for the French side.
The highly-rated Dutch Under-21 international is expected to become Eddie Howe’s third signing of the summer transfer window after the acquisitions of Matt Targett and Nick Pope.
Newcastle United’s backline upgrade continues
Since replacing Steve Bruce at Newcastle United in November 2021, Eddie Howe has recruited across his defence. He brought in Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn from Atletico Madrid and Brighton respectively during the January transfer window, while Matt Targett arrived on loan from Aston Villa with the move now turned into a permanent deal.
England goalkeeper Nick Pope arrived in a £10m deal from Burnley earlier this week and is very likely to replace Martin Dubravka as the Magpies’ No.1 in the upcoming season. And Botman is now set to follow despite his desire to join AC Milan.
Sven Botman will instantly improve the Magpies defence
It has been evident with Newcastle’s pursuit of Botman that Eddie Howe wishes to add further to the team’s defensive resources. Fabian Schar stepped up his game in the second half of last season and the arrival of Dan Burn in January only helped the Toon Army tighten a backline that was leaking far too many goals under Steve Bruce.
As far as Botman is concerned, his arrival will instantly improve Howe’s options at the back. He is a young, dynamic and intelligent centre-back who not only has amazing tackling ability but is also an excellent ball-player. The Dutchman remains calm and composed in pressure situations and can bring the ball out from the back without much fuss.
Standing at 6ft 5ins tall, the ex-Ajax man has a solid presence inside his own half, and this also allows him to win a few aerial duels from the opposition forwards. Having someone like the 22-year-old at his disposal, especially with five substitutes, will give Howe the luxury of options to rotate from when required. It will further ensure that the Newcastle tactician has a Plan B if he wishes to switch formations.
Botman had another good campaign with Lille and is ready for his next challenge. At 22, the Dutchman is only going to get better with each season and could help the Toon Army close the gap to the top eight next season.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.