Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Sven Botman rumours debunked as axed Lille boss opens up about Newcastle transfer pursuit

Sven Botman June 2022

Sven Botman did want to make the move to Newcastle in the January transfer window, according to his old boss at Lille Jocelyn Gourvennec.

A lot was said about the protracted transfer in the winter window as Eddie Howe made him his number one target. Transfer talks with the Ligue 1 club proved difficult and reports claimed Botman did not fancy a move to Tyneside.

Instead reports from Italy claimed Botman was leaning towards a move to AC Milan.

Newcastle worked hard in January to get a deal done and it’s now come to light that Botman was on board with a move. However, Lille wanted him to stay until the summer. And former coach Jocelyn Gourvennec, who was sacked earlier this month, claimed the defender was “disturbed” at seeing the move collapse.

“Sven was speaking with the president [Olivier Letang] and wanted to speak to me, too,” Gourvrennec told the Newcastle Chronicle. “I said to him, ‘If you have Newcastle now in January, you will have Newcastle in the summer. I think it’s better to stay here, to finish your job.’

“We had to prepare for the Champions League against Chelsea. He was a little bit disturbed because he didn’t know if he had to accept that in January, but he understood he could finish the job in Lille.

“It’s never easy to arrive at a club in January. To adapt is never ideal. He made a good choice to wait. Now I think it will be OK for him. He deserves it.

‘Good choice for him’

“It’s a good choice for him because he will discover the Premier League. He has all the qualities to perform in the Premier League – I have no doubt about that.

“He’s not a star at the moment but people and other players will discover him. You can’t be wrong if you made a choice to recruit Sven Botman.”

Now Botman is expected to sign for Newcastle after completing a medical on Monday ahead of a £35m move. The north-east club sent a private jet to collect him from Majorca to undergo his medical on Tyneside.

And a Dutch football expert believes Botman could have a similar impact to that of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool when he completes his protracted move to Newcastle.

Botman can follow Van Dijk’s lead

Marcel van der Kraan believes that Botman could follow in Van Dijk’s footsteps.

“It’s been surprising us, the figure as well,” Van der Kraan told Sky Sports. “Almost €40m and friend Sven Botman is a man who’s not had such a great reputation in Holland because he spent most of his time abroad.

“He left early at Ajax and he’s been doing really well. Who does he remind me of? Maybe not to the stature or greatness, but another man who never really had a big reputation in Holland (was) Virgil Van Dijk.

“He came almost from nowhere, went to Celtic, then to Liverpool. I do hope for Sven that he can achieve something similar. He’s got the physical presence and everything is looking great for him.”

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