AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, and Newcastle United are reportedly all vying for the signature of Sven Botman, with AC Milan leading the race to sign the Lille defender.

According to Sport, Sven Botman has become one of the hottest properties in the transfer market, with Newcastle, AC Milan and Tottenham all keen on signing him. However, the Rossoneri have emerged as huge favourites to secure the services of the Lille defender.

After progressing through the youth system at Ajax, Botman joined French outfit LOSC Lille in 2020 and has since developed into a fine young centre-back. He had an impressive debut season in the French top-flight as he was an integral part of Lille’s water-tight defence alongside former Southampton defender Jose Fonte that pipped Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title.

Despite his tender years in top-level football, the 22-year-old has featured heavily for Les Dogues and has already made 72 competitive appearances, while chipping in with three goals and two assists. Lille have failed to put up a solid title defence this term, but have impressed in their run to the Champions League last 16, with Botman remaining an ever-present figure at the back throughout.

With Lille currently languishing mid-table in Ligue 1 and looking unlikely to secure Champions League football for next season, the Dutchman has openly discussed the possibility of leaving the club in the summer for a better project. There is significant interest in his signature in the  2022 summer transfer window, with Tottenham, Newcastle and AC Milan all strongly linked with the prodigy recently.

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However, as per Sport, AC Milan are the clear front-runners in the race to seal the signature of the Dutchman and are keen to make him their first summer signing. The Rossoneri have been keeping tabs on the Dutch centre-back for quite a while now. Paolo Maldini views Botman as a long-term replacement for Simon Kjaer and the ideal partner for Fikayo Tomori at the heart of the defence.

Milan expect defender Alessio Romagnoli to leave when his contract expires in the summer, making their pursuit of Botman all the more important. They have already held preliminary discussions with Lille officials and the defender’s agents as they look to lay the groundwork for a deal to be concluded even before the transfer market reopens in the summer.

This development comes as a big blow to Newcastle United, who had multiple bids rejected for the Lille defender in the January transfer window. The Magpies co-owner Amanda Staveley even confirmed Botman was desperate to move to St James’ Park and strongly indicated that the Toon will rekindle their interest in the Dutchman in the summer, provided they retain their Premier League status this term.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are looking to back their manager Antonio Conte in the summer window. The Italian coach is searching for a left-footed centre-half to bolster his defensive ranks, with Botman a priority target for the Italian. But they will now have to realign their radar to other targets.

The 22-year-old’s contract at Stade Pierre-Mauroy runs until 2025, though the French side will have little choice but to sell if he attempts to push through a move.

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