Sven Botman: Newcastle agree deal in principle for Lille defender worth in region of £35m

Sven Botman earmarked as Eddie Howe's No 1 defensive transfer target this summer; Lille defender on verge of becoming Newcastle's third close-season signing following transfers of goalkeeper Nick Pope and left-back Matt Targett; Magpies have beaten off competition from AC Milan

Saint-Etienne, France - August 21: Sven Botman of Lille warming up during the Ligue 1 Uber Eats match between Saint Etienne and Lille at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on August 21, 2021 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Zuma Press)

Newcastle have agreed a deal in principle for the signing of Lille centre-back Sven Botman.

Botman, who has undergone a medical on Tyneside, has agreed terms on a five year-contract, according to a statement from Newcastle.

The total fee for the defender is in the region of £35m, with Newcastle saying the "formalities of the transfer" will be concluded this week.

The Dutchman has been Eddie Howe's No 1 defensive transfer target this summer. The club did earmark the defender as a January transfer target but negotiations with Lille have proved complicated.

They have beaten off competition from AC Milan for his signature.

How Botman went from boy to man

Sven Botman in action for Heerenveen against former club Ajax

Sven Botman may be new to Newcastle but the North East of England is not completely unfamiliar to him. In fact, it was in neighbouring Sunderland, three years ago next month, that he took the first step on his road to St James' Park.

The defender, still only 19 at the time, had just agreed a season-long loan from Ajax, his boyhood club, to Eredivisie rivals Heerenveen. His first assignment was a pre-season friendly, a few miles from the place he will soon call home, at the Stadium of Light.

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Botman was named on the bench but he didn't stay there long. A first-half injury to Ibrahim Dresevic, one of Heerenveen's starting centre-backs, meant he was needed sooner than anticipated.

It was an early opportunity to showcase his potential and he left the field at the end of it having helped Heerenveen secure a clean sheet and a 1-0 win. "He went in and he never went out," Johnny Jansen, the club's manager, recalls to Sky Sports with a chuckle.

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Toon still in talks for Ekitike | Negotiations over certain terms 'difficult'

Newcastle United are still in talks for Reims striker Hugo Ekitike but are prepared to walk away from the deal if progress is not made.

Negotiations over certain terms have been difficult, with one source revealing that Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the France U21 International, and that other clubs are also keen.

Sky Sports News also understands Newcastle are close to agreeing personal terms with the 20-year-old.

Newcastle sign Pope from Burnley for £10m

Nick Pope completed his £10m move to Newcastle from Burnley with the England goalkeeper signing a four-year contract.

The 30-year-old was keen to stay in the Premier League after Burnley's relegation to the Championship to ensure he remains in Gareth Southgate's England plans ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this winter.

Pope, who had one year left on his contract at Burnley, will challenge Martin Dubravka for the No 1 jersey at St James' Park.

The former Charlton goalkeeper becomes Eddie Howe's second summer signing after left-back Matt Targett joined earlier this month.

Pope said: "Now I'm here, I can't wait to get started. The deal has taken a couple of weeks to come to fruition but it got over the line really quickly, and I'm delighted to be here and I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into it."

Newcastle fixtures 2022/23: Forest first up

Newcastle United will host newly-promoted Nottingham Forest on the opening weekend of the 2022/23 Premier League season.

After a trip to Brighton on the second weekend, Eddie Howe's Magpies host Premier League champions Manchester City on August 20, before finishing the month with trips to Wolves and Liverpool.

Howe faces former club Bournemouth at home on September 17, while the visit of Brentford on October 8 marks the one-year anniversary of the Newcastle's Saudi-backed takeover.

Newcastle travel to Leicester on Boxing Day, host Leeds on New Year's Eve, and then travel to Arsenal on January 2, before concluding their campaign away at Chelsea.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 10 and closes at 11pm on September 1?

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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