Newcastle United are reportedly ready to end their long-running pursuit of Dutch defender Sven Botman owing to Lille’s hefty transfer demands.
According to an exclusive from Daily Telegraph, Lille have dealt Newcastle another blow in their pursuit of Sven Botman by deciding to raise their original asking price due to “Newcastle tax”, with the Magpies ready to call off their chase and look to other avenues in frustration.
The Sven Botman transfer saga has appeared to have taken a fresh twist. Things looked all set and done between AC Milan and Lille for the acquisition of the Dutch defender ahead of the summer window. But Newcastle United stepped in to hijack the deal and emerged as the favourites to land the promising centre-back.
However, Lille have thrown a late spanner in Newcastle’s works in a bid to grab a much greater slice of the Magpies’ new-found wealth. Newcastle thought they had reached a £30 million agreement with Lille for the Dutch defender, only for the Ligue 1 club to hike their asking price to £36 million.
Per Daily Telegraph, the Magpies have been informed that a “Newcastle tax” is applicable on any dealings involving them since they now have the tag of ‘the richest club in the world’ following their Saudi Arabia-led takeover last year.
Understandably, these fresh antics from Lille have left Newcastle unimpressed, and they could now walk away from the deal and look at other avenues if the Ligue 1 club do not accept their ‘take it or leave it’ £30 million ultimatum bid.
Signing a centre-back proved to be a source of great frustration for the Toon in January. Botman was their top priority target, but they were unable to push through a move over the line and had multiple bids rejected. Newcastle are now suffering from a similar fate this summer; the Tynesiders hoped that their financial clout, stable position, and newfound ambition would bring them a step closer to finally landing their top defensive target.
Sporting director Dan Ashworth’s appearance in the stands in the Dutch Under-21’s game against Wales, in which Botman featured, even sparked rumours that Newcastle could have made a breakthrough in their bid to sign the player. However, it appears like the goalposts have shifted and the deal is about to collapse once more.
Regarded as one of the best young centre-backs in Europe, Botman is touted for a bright future. After rising through the ranks in Ajax’s famed academy, the 22-year-old joined Les Dogues in early 2020 and slotted straight into the first team, playing a pivotal role in the club’s title triumph in the 2020/21 season. The young centre-back, who is contracted with Lille until 2025, is poised to make a big switch this summer.
Elsewhere in Italy, multiple outlets are claiming that the player himself favours a move to San Siro, having verbally agreed on personal terms with AC Milan, who can of course offer UEFA Champions League football. Nevertheless, Newcastle must still be careful not to pay over the odds for their desired targets and spend wisely as they need to strengthen in multiple positions across the pitch.