After working his way through Ajax’s youth ranks, the defender joined the French club in the summer of 2020.

Since then, the 22-year-old has made 79 appearances for Lille across all competitions, chipping in with three goals and two assists along the way.

Great news for Howe

Botman’s latest season with his current club saw him make 32 appearances across all competitions.

To highlight the Dutchman’s importance to the team, they only managed two clean sheets in the 13 league games in which he didn’t feature, showing just how much they miss him when he’s not available.

He also racked up a higher average of clearances per game (4.5) than any of his Lille team-mates and earned himself an overall performance rating of 6.83/10 from WhoScored, making him their third-highest rated player for the campaign. For context, Dan Burn was the only Newcastle centre-back with a better rating in 2021/22.

This could make the French club reluctant to let their star defender leave this summer, despite his apparent willingness to play in the Premier League.

However, taking into account how the Tyneside club have reportedly been after him since January, their eagerness to add Botman to their ranks could also convince the player to wave goodbye to France and begin the next chapter of his career in England.

Now that Romano has claimed that the Magpies are advancing their attempts to bring the centre-back to St James’ Park and beat AC Milan to his signature, this will be great news for Eddie Howe as he looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the upcoming season.

If the Toon can finally complete the signing of Botman in the coming weeks, this would surely put them in a good place to take on their next Premier League campaign and bolster their defence.

In other news: Newcastle eyeing £15m magician Shearer dubbed “magnificent”, he’s better than Almiron

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