Journalist Alex Crook has claimed on talkSPORT that Newcastle are looking at Lille defender Sven Botman.
The Magpies have been big spenders recently.
In January, the first transfer window since they were taken over by new owners in October, the Tyneside club splashed out on Chris Wood, Bruno Guimaraes, Kieran Trippier, and Dan Burn, which altogether cost them over £90m.
The northeast club can still improve though. Only five sides in the league have conceded more than the 62 goals Newcastle had shipped past them.
With this in mind, Crook has claimed that senior figures at St James’ Park are interested in Botman, and scouted the 22-year-old defender while he was on international duty.
“Dan Ashworth, their new sporting director, watched one of them at the weekend, Sven Botman, playing for Holland U21s against Wales.
“Newcastle willing to pay more than £30m for a player they’ve been chasing since the new owners came in. AC Milan earlier in the summer did look like front runners, but that seems to have gone cold now.”
Our thoughts on Crook’s Botman claim
The £27m-rated centre-back has been an important player for the French club, with only two players at the French club with a higher WhoScored rating league, and the Ajax Academy graduate leading in clearances and passes per game.
This is impressive considering that it has been an underwhelming campaign for the Netherlands U21 international, who missed 14 games due to injury.
The season before, he started 37 league matches, the most for an outfield player at a club, as Lille were surprise Ligue 1 champions.
His displays that year would cause his centre-back partner Jose Fonte to praise him, calling the 6 foot 5 colossus a “top player”.
“He is a top player.
“I must say I was surprised when he first arrived. I wasn’t expecting this level of quality, I was expecting a youngster with potential, but the guy is very composed; he’s mature for his age.
“He’s a defender, and by that I mean he likes to defend; he likes to play simple, he’s strong, he’s tall, he wins his duels, he doesn’t overcomplicate the game, he’s good on the ball, left-footed.”
While the £18k-per-week ace has more progressive passes, key passes, shot-creating actions, and progressive carries per 90 minutes, Burn has more tackles, interceptions, clearances, and blocks (FBref).
Considering how much Newcastle conceded last season, Howe may be better off sticking with Burn, which doesn’t make Botman a very smart move for the Magpies.