The newest Newcastle signing is the now former Lille defender Sven Botman, who signed with Newcastle United on a five-year deal for a fee of around £35 million. The Dutchman had been linked to many big clubs in Europe over the last year, but instead will be the newest Newcastle signing. Sven Botman will represent the completion of Eddie Howe’s new back line at Newcastle joining Nick Pope, Matt Targett, Kieren Trippier and Dan Burn in the defence.
This is another example of excellent business from Newcastle since they were taken over by the Saudi-led Public Investment Fund (PIF), adding to the influx of reasonably priced signings that have significantly improved the club’s fortunes. It is easy to forget that Newcastle looked like relegation candidates for a large part of the 2021-2022 season.
Why Sven Botman?
Sven Botman is a 22-year-old Dutch International centre-back that has impressed greatly at French Ligue 1 as one of the better Lille defenders. During his first season with the club, Botman was a critical piece as a Lille defender and played a huge part as the club wrestled the Ligue 1 trophy away from PSG.
These performances put the Ajax academy graduate on the map and continued into the next season although Lille didn’t come close to mounting a defence of their trophy. The player has been called into Louis Van Gals Netherlands team but is yet to make an appearance for his national side.
Sven Botman is primarily a modern centre-back that can carry the ball forward, break the attacking press of the opposition and move the ball on to his more creative teammates. One of the most important features of Botman’s game is his passing ability. The player doesn’t give the ball away often with a completion rate of 89% but only attempts 59.12 passes per 90 minutes. This is a good indicator that Botman makes good passing decisions with the ball at his feet.
Unlike many modern defenders, Sven Botman combines his football ability with old-school defensive attributes. He is physical, athletic and standing at 6’4 is excellent in his aerial ability. In pure defensive terms, Botman tends to score above average in most defensive actions. These are 1.99 blocks, 4.76 clearances and 3 ariel duels won per 90 minutes played.
For comparison, this is a very similar stat profile to the new Aston Villa signing Diego Carlos who scores 1.69 blocks, 4.19 clearances and 2.65 ariels won. The Brazilian saw heavy speculation that he would be the newest Newcastle signing in January, but the club went for the Lille defender who is significantly younger then Carlos and outperforms him in most defensive categories.
How Does Sven Botman Fit In?
Eddie Howe will see the newest Newcastle signing as the crowning piece of his new defence. Alongside Bruno Guimares, Botman represents the changing times at St James Park in which the club can beat genuine Champions League sides to the signings of top prospects playing in the major European Leagues.
Something that Eddie Howe may work on though is that as a Lille defender, Botman was not very aggressive. He tends to be the sitting defender rather than the one who looks to intercept balls from the opposition attackers. This is shown by his 1.52 interceptions per 90 minutes played, which is less than 85% of central defenders in the top European leagues. This isn’t a massive issue as his likely defensive partner Dan Burn is a defender who comes out and makes interceptions at around 2 per 90 minutes played. On paper, the two fit in well together and Eddie Howe will be hoping that this is shown when they play together.
Will Sven Botman be a success as the newest Newcastle signing? Will the former Lille defender soon appear for the National Team? Let us know what you think! If you enjoyed this content then follow me on Twitter @AzLynchy and also make sure to follow @FootballOTH for more football content!
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