NEWCASTLE UNITED have agreed an outline fee for Sven Botman, and are hoping to wrap up a deal in the next few days that will see the centre-half become the club’s second summer signing.

But who is Botman? And why are Newcastle so keen to bring him to Tyneside? Here are some things you might now know about the 22-year-old centre-half…


Born in Badhoevedorp in the Netherlands, Botman joined Ajax’s youth set-up at the age of just nine. He progressed through the youth ranks in Amsterdam, playing alongside the likes of Sergino Dest and Ryan Gravenberch in Ajax’s youth teams.

However, he never made a senior appearance for Ajax before moving on. With their remarkable history of developing and then selling on young players, Ajax might well view Botman as a rare example of one that got away.


Having been unable to break into the senior ranks with Ajax, a key moment in Botman’s career came when he agreed to join Heerenveen on loan at the start of the 2019-20 sesaon.

Heerenveen, who are former European opponents on Newcastle, are not one of the Netherlands’ most fashionable clubs, but they provided Botman with the opportunity to experience regular first-team football in the Eredivisie.

The defender made 26 top-flight appearances during his spell at Heerenveen, and while his performances did not earn him a first-team spot back at Ajax, they paved the way for the €8m move that saw him join Lille in July 2020.


Botman made an instant impact with Lille, and has enjoyed considerable success in his two seasons with the Ligue 1 club.

His first season in France could hardly have gone any better, with Lille outperforming the likes of Paris St Germain, Monaco and Marseille as they were surprise winners of the Ligue 1 title. Botman made 37 league starts during Lille’s title-winning campaign and also appeared for the club in the Europa League.

Last season was not as successful domestically, with Lille only finishing tenth in the Ligue 1 table as Botman made 25 starts, scoring three goals. However, the 22-year-old got the chance to experience playing in the Champions League, with Lille successfully negotiating the group phase before suffering a narrow two-legged defeat to Chelsea in the first knockout round.

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Botman is yet to make his senior debut for the Netherlands, although he was an unused substitute after being called up by Frank de Boer for the Nations League matches against Poland and Bosnia in November 2020.

He is yet to catch the eye of current Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, although he remains a regular with the Netherlands Under-21 side and is currently involved in the ongoing round of European Championships qualifiers.

He is expected to start Saturday’s final group game in Wales, with Holland already assured of qualification for the finals as they sit at the top of Group E.


Botman is a left-footed centre-half who is one of the modern breed of ball-playing defenders. While he is tough in the tackle when he needs to be, and aerially dominant thanks to his six foot five inch frame, he is adept at bringing the ball out from the back.

In the 2020-21 season, when Lille were crowned French champions, he completed the third most passes in the whole of Ligue 1, with a successful pass completion rate of 86 per cent.

He has spent most of his time at Lille playing alongside Jose Fonte, and the former Southampton defender is confident his team-mate will be able to shine in the Premier League.

“He is a top player,” said Fonte. “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 this guy is very composed, he is 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 and he wins his duels. He doesn’t overcomplicate his game and he’s good on the ball.”