Newcastle boss Eddie Howe addressed one of the team’s biggest issues in January by bolstering the defence with the signings of Matt Targett, Dan Burn and Kieran Tripper – leading them to conceding just five goals in their last eight Premier League games.
However, with them having Champions League ambitions under Saudi PIF, Trippier might be the sole long-term survivor of that trio in Howe’s strongest XI, and Lille centre-back Sven Botman could be a long-term replacement for left-footer Burn.
While AC Milan are believed to have moved ahead of the Tyneside club, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, they are not giving up hope on attracting Botman to the Premier League.
The report also suggests the Dutchman is looking to play for a club with Champions League football next season, but money talks – and Newcastle have the most money out of any club in the world.
This news comes after journalist Fabrizio Romano ruled out a deal in January, saying: “Lille position on Sven Botman’s still the same: he’s untouchable and his future will be discussed in the summer. Deal off with Newcastle. Magpies already working on two other candidates in order to sign a new centre back this week.”
Averaging a 7.14 match rating for Lille in the French Ligue 1 this season, he has also scored three goals in 21 games – and with an excellent set-piece taker in the shape of Trippier, he could potentially contribute even more with the Magpies too.
Standing at 6 foot 4, the 22-year-old has demonstrated his ability in the air regularly on the defensive side of his game too, ranking among centre-backs in Europe’s top five leagues and continental competitions over the last year in the top 7% for percentage of aerials won per 90 (74.6%) and top 12% for least aerials lost per 90 (1.01).
With a valuation of just £27m by Transfermarkt, it’s unlikely that Lille will price Newcastle out of a move, as the French club themselves have only just found their way out of financial troubles – and despite no longer needing to sell, they likely won’t turn away a figure of around £45m.
In the words of Rio Ferdinand, Newcastle should get the contract out, put it on the table, let him sign it, let him write whatever numbers he wants to put on there, because Botman is the real deal – and will continue to get better and better in the years to come, while the owners have the money to tempt him.
Based on his incredible potential and the January saga that revolved around him, St James’ Park would surely be bouncing if the club finally got their man.