Newcastle United have reportedly ramped up talks with French outfit LOSC Lille for a £30 million January swoop for highly-rated Dutch defender Sven Botman.

According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle United are stepping up their efforts in their pursuit to sign promising Lille centre-back Sven Botman. The 21-year-old is said to be keen to join the Magpies despite their precarious top-flight status, and talks have intensified in recent days, with Newcastle now pushing hard to reach an agreement with Lille.

Newcastle have been linked with Sven Botman for a while now, ever since their multi-million-pound Saudi-led takeover. They have made the Dutch talent their priority target heading into the January transfer market, with the 21-year-old’s skillset highly regarded by Toon boss Eddie Howe, who wants a commanding, athletic and ball-playing central defender.

Although reports of Newcastle’s serious interest in Botman have been well-documented since early December, there was a general understanding that the player would snub the approach from the Toon, preferring a move to a better-positioned club to be able to compete in Europe.

The Magpies find themselves languishing second-bottom in the Premier League. With their relegation rivals having several games in hand, the Tyneside-based outfit are in jeopardy of being cut adrift by the conclusion of the winter transfer window. To tackle their current predicament, the new owners hope to get in reinforcements as quickly as possible to have a better start to the second half of the campaign.

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A busy transfer window is expected for the St. James’ Park faithful, with stars such as Aaron Ramsey and Isco recently linked with a move to the North East. However, the Toon hierarchy aims to spend wisely and is keen on only players who believe in their vision.

Signed from Ajax for £7 million in 2020, Botman was a crucial component of Lille’s astonishing title success last campaign. The youngster was a vital cog in the defence that only conceded 23 goals all season, bucking the trend by finishing above PSG. Regarded as one of the best up and coming central defenders in Europe, the Dutchman has no shortage of admirers, with AC Milan and West Ham some of the potential suitors.

However, newly-rich Newcastle are clear frontrunners in the race for the Dutch centre-back. With Howe’s side desperately needing defensive reinforcements to have any hopes of survival this term, landing someone of Botman’s potential would be a huge coup and a massive statement of intent from the new owners.

Newcastle’s defensive ranks lack pace, commit many individual mistakes, and are not compatible with Howe’s style and vision. Standing at 6ft 4in, Botman boasts an imposing presence at the back, is aerially competent and can dominate his penalty area with authority. He will offer youthful exuberance, tidy distribution and great positional sense to quickly detect and cut out any danger by making vital interventions.

The Dutch central defender has been highlighted as a vital signing in Newcastle’s long-term plans, and he has shown a readiness to join, but much rests on Lille’s willingness to let him leave next month. Contracted until 2025 at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille value their star defender at £30 million. Only time will tell whether Newcastle can get the sensational swoop over the line for Dutch sensation.

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