Newcastle United have reportedly emerged as the front-runners in the race to sign Lille’s defensive stalwart Sven Botman in the summer transfer window.
According to Football Insider, Newcastle United are leading the chase to sign Lille defender Sven Botman for around £30 million this summer, despite the 22-year-old having agreed personal terms with AC Milan.
The Dutch defender has emerged as a sought-after commodity in the transfer market and has plenty of admirers all across Europe. In addition to Newcastle United, the Dutchman has been courted by AC Milan and Tottenham.
Since joining LOSC Lille back in the summer of 2020 from Ajax for a nominal fee, Botman has been nothing short of a revelation, having made 75 appearances for the French outfit across all competitions chipping in with three goals and two assists in the process.
The 22-year-old was an instrumental figure for the French side as they upset the applecart by beating Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title last season. The Dutchman has remained an ever-present figure at the heart of Les Dogues backline this term and proved crucial in their run to the Champions League Last-16 before being knocked out 4-1 on aggregate by defending champions Chelsea.
Newcastle had multiple bids rejected for Botman during the January transfer window including the highest worth around £27 million, with Lille adamant about keeping hold of him while they remained in the Champions League. However, Les Dogues have since crashed out of Europe, and the Magpies’ nine-point cushion over the bottom three in the Premier League puts them in a comfortable position to avoid the drop.
The Magpies’ co-owner Amanda Staveley had confirmed Botman was keen to move to Tyneside last winter. So, it appeared inevitable for Newcastle to revive their pursuit of the talented defender ahead of the summer. But Newcastle were dealt a blow when reports claimed that the defender could be on his way to AC Milan, having already reached an agreement on a five-year contract with the Serie A side.
However, as per Football Insider, the cash-rich Toon are ready to battle it out with European giants AC Milan for the Dutchman’s signature, with manager Eddie Howe identifying the left-footed centre-half as a priority defensive target. As per the report, the player is keen to test his mettle in the Premier League and is open to moving to Newcastle after verbally agreeing personal terms with the club earlier this year.
Although Howe has transformed the Magpies into a team that is tough to break down since the turn of the year, signing a top-class centre-back like Botman ahead of Milan would represent a huge statement of intent from the new owners.
Furthermore, Botman’s arrival would also provide much-needed quality depth in the centre-back department, with Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez expected to depart at the end of the season, while club captain Jamaal Lascelles has underwhelmed so far this season.
The 22-year-old’s contract at Stade Pierre-Mauroy runs until 2025 and he could be made available for around £30 million. Whether Newcastle can stave off the competition to secure the former Netherlands Under-21 international’s services this summer remains to be seen. For now, though, they are confident of landing the Dutchman.