Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly desperate to pip Newcastle United to the signature of Lille centre-back Sven Botman in order to appease Antonio Conte.

According to Daily Star, Tottenham Hotspur are eager to win the race to sign Sven Botman ahead of cash-rich Newcastle United as a statement signing as they look to satisfy head coach Antonio Conte’s demands.

The Lilywhites endured a difficult January transfer window, with Conte venting his frustrations in the mainstream media. While they did land both Dejan Kulusevski (loan) and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus, they let four first-team players leave and missed out on several other key targets like Luis Diaz and Adama Traore.

The Tottenham hierarchy are worried about losing one of the world’s top football managers in Conte as a result of the Italian’s recent post-match interviews and are now ramping up their efforts to persuade Botman to arrive in north London rather than move to the northeast as they look to back Conte in the summer transfer window.

The Italian coach has widely preferred a back-three system at Tottenham that needs strong defensive foundations. As such, full-back Ben Davies has continued to operate as a makeshift left-sided centre-back, although it is believed that Conte would prioritise strengthening that position in the summer.

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To that end, Lille’s Dutch defender Sven Botman fits the bill perfectly and has been identified as their primary target, with the Tottenham boss giving the green light to launch the pursuit. In fact, Conte is pressuring the Spurs hierarchy and Daniel Levy to splash the cash on the 22-year-old defender.

Botman has been an ever-present figure at the heart of Les Dogues’ backline since arriving from Ajax in 2020. He played an instrumental role in Lille’s Ligue 1 title win ahead of Paris Saint-Germain during the 2020/21 campaign.

He has also been one of the key driving forces behind Lille’s impressive run to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, where they are trailing Chelsea 2-0 after the first leg. However, with Les Dogues languishing in mid-table in Ligue 1 this time around, it looks like his time at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy is coming to an end.

Indeed, it would be a sensational piece of business from Tottenham if they could land the Lille star. The Dutch defender is regarded as one of Europe’s top young defenders and boasts enough top-level experience to adjust to the rigours of Premier League football. Furthermore, his progressive passing ability would be a handy tool for Conte’s side to initiate attacks out from the back.

That said, the Lilywhites are set to face stiff competition for the player from newly-minted Newcastle United. The Magpies’ chief Amanda Staveley recently revealed that Botman was eager to secure a move to St. James’ Park in the January transfer window, but a transfer did not materialise. Newcastle are expected to reignite their interest in Botman this summer if they stay up.

The lure of Champions League football is one aspect that might help Spurs’ chances should they finish in the top four this term. The 22-year-old’s Lille contract runs out until 2025, with the French side likely to demand at least £30 million to relinquish their prized asset. Whether Tottenham opt to match the asking price to secure the Dutch Under-21 international remains to be seen.

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