Club chief confirms Newcastle target ‘will stay’ prompting shift of PIF transfer focus

Sven Botman Lille

Sven Botman will not be joining Newcastle United – at least not in January – after comments from the president of his current club, Lille.

Newcastle have made two signings so far in January, their first transfer window since their Saudi takeover. Kieran Trippier joined from Atletico Madrid and they signed Chris Wood from relegation rivals Burnley.

Next on the agenda for the Magpies is to find someone to improve them at centre-back. Only Norwich City – who have played a game more – have conceded more than Newcastle so far this season in the Premier League.

One of the main targets they have been pursuing is Sven Botman. The Dutchman helped Lille to the Ligue 1 title last season and is highly valued.

That has not deterred the newly rich Newcastle, who have reportedly been considering a third bid for Botman. Their previous two offers for the centre-back have been rejected by the French champions.

But it appears nothing can do the trick for Newcastle in their pursuit of Botman this month. Indeed, Lille president Olivier Letang has confirmed the 22-year-old is going nowhere mid-season.

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Letang told RMC Sport (as translated by Get French Football News): “We had enquiries last summer for Sven. But we were clear in saying that we needed Sven this season.

“We had a run in the Champions League and we managed to finish first in our group. We have big objectives for the end of the season so Sven will stay with us until the end of the season to help us achieve these objectives.”


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Newcastle focus on Sven Botman alternative

Newcastle will therefore have to focus elsewhere for now as they aim to find someone who can help them avoid relegation.

Reports have indicated their other priority target in defence is Diego Carlos of Sevilla.

As per The Telegraph, they hope they can conclude a deal for Carlos this week and then move on to the next task.

It’s claimed a Newcastle source has said: “We are working really hard on two deals at the moment and we are getting closer.

“But our league position is making things harder to persuade players to come. It makes a tough window even trickier to do business in.”

Carlos does though, according to the report, have an appetite for the move. And that is giving chiefs on Tyneside optimism that he could be their player by next weekend.

If that doesn’t materialise, then Liverpool’s Nat Phillips and Tottenham’s Joe Rodon appear to be next in line for an approach.

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