Newcastle United are planning an ambitious January swoop for Lille defender Sven Botman, with the Ligue 1 club ready to listen to offers of over £40 million.

According to The Atheltic journalist David Ornstein, Newcastle United have reportedly identified highly-rated Lille and Netherlands Under-21 centre-back Sven Botman as one of their ‘primary targets’ in the upcoming January transfer window.

The report suggests that Lille are adamant about keeping hold of their defensive stalwart till the end of the season. But an extraordinary offer could tempt the French club to sell their prized asset amidst their disastrous financial situation, with the report mentioning an offer in the region of £40 million would be enough to snare the exciting young defender away from the Ligue 1 side.

Eddie Howe’s men finally won their first Premier League game of the season last weekend, a much-needed 1-0 victory against Burnley that lifted them off the foot of the table and within three points of safety. It will boost the St James’ Park outfit’s prospects of avoiding relegation and might help in their recruitment drive in the January transfer market as they look to bolster multiple areas on the pitch.

The biggest priority for Newcastle is to strengthen their defensive department, with the Magpies shipping 30 goals in just 15 games so far this term, which is inevitable considering the years of neglect in upgrading the defensive department under the previous regime.

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The Toon have recently been linked with experienced Premier League defenders such as Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. But going out and signing one of the most promising young defenders of the world in Sven Botman is a completely different ball game and would be a big statement of intent.

Signed from Ajax for €8 million in 2020, the 21-year-old enjoyed a fine debut season with Lille and was a pivotal figure in the Les Dogues’ side that defied the odds by beating Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title. His commanding displays in defence have not gone unnoticed as there were many top clubs interested in him in the summer while newly-rich Newcastle United have also joined the bandwagon of Dutchman’s admirers.

With Federico Fernandez, Ciaran Clark and Paul Dummett all into their thirties, Newcastle have an ageing defensive roster that seems to be struggling with a lack of pace and aggression. Botman ticks a lot of boxes, with the Dutchman’s primary assets being physicality, quickness, vision, composure, and aerial supremacy.

Furthermore, he is a left-footed ball-playing defender, which gives managers different options for playing out from the back. Given his quality and potential, it is no surprise that Newcastle boss Eddie Howe is said to have approved the transfer target. The Dutchman’s contract at Stade Pierre Mauroy runs until 2025 and he would not come cheap, with  fee of around £40 million excluding add-ons and bonuses being touted.

Newcastle should have no problems at matching that asking price given their deep pockets following the takeover, but they may struggle to convince the player to move to Tyneside given their struggles this term. What now remains to be seen is whether the Magpies step up and sign the 21-year-old Dutch sensation or move for other alternatives.

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