Newcastle fans 'paying tribute' to Saudi owners says reporter
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Newcastle United have identified Lille defender Sven Botman as a primary January transfer target, and he has openly admitted his desire for a Premier League move. Eddie Howe will have the first opportunity to bolster his squad under Newcastle’s new wealthy owners in the new year, with his defence undoubtedly a priority.
According to The Athletic, Botman has emerged as a top target for Newcastle ahead of expected spending next month.
The Magpies want to strengthen a few key areas, but their early-season defensive woes have made it clear where their priorities must lie.
Botman is considered one of the most promising centre-backs in Europe after helping Lille dethrone PSG to lift the Ligue 1 title last season.
But with the 21-year-old under contract until 2025 and Lille likely to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages, he won’t come cheap, and a move for his services would be audacious.
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Botman would likely be tempted by a move to England, though, considering his comments on transfer speculation earlier this year.
On Premier League interest, he said: “It is a good compliment when you hear these clubs are interested.
“I’m lying if I say it’s not interesting me. It’s the first time such big clubs are linked to me, but it was early days because, in January, I was only at Lille for half a season.
“If I’m honest, the Premier League is one of the leagues I dreamed about. The Premier League is something special. It’s the football I really like, and that fits me.
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“The style of play, the emotion; I really like to see the fans with such big emotions in the stands. It is a beautiful competition I really like to watch and did for pretty much all my life.
“I’m not the kind of guy who is already planning for the future. How it’s going with me now, I hope to someday make a good step to a top competition or a big club; that’s my goal.
“For my ambitions, yes, of course I want to achieve as much as possible. I hope to make a big, beautiful step for me. We’ll have to see in the future if that is possible or not.”
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The Athletic’s report claims an offer of £40million could lure Botman from Lille due to the club’s financial struggles.
But whether the Netherlands under-21 international had Newcastle in mind when envisaging a big Premier League move remains to be seen.
He won’t be short of suitors, and it would be a risk to abandon Champions League football to join a long-term project.
However, it would be a statement signing by Newcastle, and the club certainly has the funds to pull such a move off.
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