Having ended the 2021/22 campaign like an express train, many are predicting a run at the European positions from Newcastle United in 22/23. Eddie Howe’s troops are in fact already attracting significant support in the betting markets to make the top six. Anyone interested in getting those bets on early ahead of the looming campaign should be sure to check out this spreadex review.
If they are to threaten the established order, Newcastle are of course going to need to bolster the squad, with many anticipating the Magpies will be one of the most active sides in the summer transfer window. Granted their newfound status as one of the wealthiest clubs on the planet that seems a reasonable prediction, and the Black and Whites have now made their first real statement signing.
With loan success story Matt Targett having already joined permanently, and England international keeper Nick Pope signing on the dotted line from Burnley for a fee of £ 10 million, the Magpie’s backline has received a major boost with the acquisition of the hugely coveted centre-back Sven Botman from Lille. A coup for the club, and granted the resources at their disposal, this may not be the last time the North East club is hitting the sporting headlines, before the new season kicks off.
If at First You Don’t Succeed
Centre back was one of the positions the Magpies were most expected to recruit for during the January transfer window, with Botman and Sevilla’s Diego Carlos both heavily linked with the club. However, neither transfer ultimately came to fruition in the winter, with Dan Burn instead brought in from Brighton.
Despite the stellar work of Burn, it seems Newcastle were still keen to improve in the defensive area, and with Diego Carlos now at Aston Villa, efforts were redoubled to get a revived Botman deal over the line.
Magpies Swoop as AC Milan Stall
Not that it has been entirely straightforward, with reports suggesting that a switch to AC Milan was the player’s first choice. Despite being given every opportunity to put a suitable financial package together, AC – who are in the midst of a protracted takeover at present – were unable to meet the requirements. An issue which of course is no issue to the Saudi-backed Newcastle United at present.
Once it became clear that Newcastle were the only interested club willing to pay the asking price -believed to be in the region of £35 million plus add-ons – the deal has been concluded swiftly. Jetting into Tyneside to complete his medical, Botman has now signed up for five years, looking set to play a pivotal role in the Magpies revolution. But what are Newcastle getting for their money?
The Next Van Dijk?
Comparisons with the man already on his way to legendary status at Anfield may be a little premature, but Botman does look to possess the potential to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Dutchman. Paolo Maldini is certainly no bad judge of a centre back, and the fact that he was so keen to see Botman lining up at the San Siro is a ringing endorsement of the talent possessed by the 22-year-old.
A product of the famed Ajax Academy, Botman ultimately left the Amsterdam club in search of game time – first coming to the attention of scouts following a series of excellent displays for Heerenveen. Signing for Lille for a reported €8million in 2020, Botman’s progression continued apace at the Ligue 1 club – the youngster being a key part of the side that stunningly lifted the French title in 2020/21.
A step up to the Premier seems the logical next step for a player who – at 6ft5 and broadly built – possesses all the physical attributes required to succeed. There is however a lot more to the Dutchman’s game than an imposing stature. Like so many defenders who emerge from the Ajax system, Botman is calm and composed on the ball, and able to spread the play with either foot. A shrewd reader of the game his knack for anticipating the play and winning the ball early, combined with his aerial prowess, enable him to snuff out many attacks before they really begin. The Premier League will provide the most thorough examination of his talents to date, but Newcastle fans have every right to be excited!