Sven Botman has become a serious target for Newcastle United, although they do not yet know how much of an effort they may have to make to sign him – according to reports.
Newcastle are ready to flex their financial muscles in January following their Saudi-backed takeover. They now have the money to compete for some top targets. Any arrivals would be welcome to help a squad trying to avoid relegation.
One area it will be essential to strengthen is defence. It is believed that Eddie Howe wants to add two centre-backs to the squad he recently inherited.
Newcastle are looking at players of differing pedigree to solve the issue. For example, they have been linked with Burnley pair Ben Mee and James Tarkowski. They have formed a reliable Premier League partnership.
Alternatively, they could look down to the Championship. The idea of Howe reuniting with Bournemouth captain Steve Cook has been considered.
But Newcastle may have to look further afield as well. There are doubts over how easy it would be for them to do business in the domestic market.
Therefore, they could consider transfer options on the continent. There have been reports recently of their interest in Botman.
The Dutchman helped Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season. He is currently playing at Champions League level, but has been linked with a move away from his current club.
Joe Rodon has been linked to Newcastle
Spurs defender Joe Rodon has been linked to Newcastle
The Premier League may be his next destination. He was a target for Wolves in the summer, for example, but no deal could be done.
Newcastle have also been linked and their interest has now been verified by reliable reporter Fabrizio Romano.
According to the Italian journalist, the Magpies are “seriously interested” in taking the 21-year-old in January. In fact, he is “top of the list” when it comes to their targets.
For now, though, it remains a waiting game to learn the conditions of the transfer. Newcastle do not yet know how much Lille want for Botman, or if they are even willing to sell him at all.
Sven Botman not just wanted by Newcastle
Furthermore, they are facing competition from AC Milan. The Serie A side need to replace Simon Kjaer after he suffered a long-term injury.
Milan are now “keeping tabs” on Botman as they aim to plug the gap in order to continue their title challenge.
They would seemingly be a more attractive option than Newcastle in the short-term. But money talks and the prospect of a brighter future at St James’ Park may help convince some players to sign up.
For now, Botman will continue playing for Lille until the situation becomes clearer. He is under contract there until 2025.
So far this season, he has played 17 times in all competitions for the club. There have been 11 starts in Ligue 1, in which he has scored once this term.