Newcastle United eye 25-year-old Leeds United attacker as Sven Botman draws comparisons to £75m man

Newcastle United are moving on from their pursuit of Hugo Ekitike after growing frustrated with a lack of progress.

Monday, 27th June 2022, 4:42 pm
Updated Monday, 27th June 2022, 4:44 pm

One potential alternative to Ekitike for Newcastle is Leeds United winger Jack Harrison.

The 25-year-old scored 10 goals in 38 appearances for Leeds in all competitions last season, including a hat-trick in a 3-2 win over West Ham United.

Jack Harrison of Leeds United celebrates with teammate Raphinha after scoring their side's second goal during the Premier League match between Brentford and Leeds United at Brentford Community Stadium on May 22, 2022 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

With defender Sven Botman set to join from Lille for £35million, United are now looking to strengthen up front.

Ekitike had been a priority signing but agent fees have proven to be a stumbling block.

According to The Telegraph, Harrison is being viewed as a potential alternative to Ekitike, but Leeds may be reluctant to sell the former Manchester City man. A fee of around £30million has previously been reported, but having spent roughly £60million on Botman, Matt Targett and Nick Pope already, Newcastle will continue to carefully monitor their spending.

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Sven Botman could emulate Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk at Newcastle

Dutch defender Sven Botman is on the verge of completing a £35million move to Newcastle United from Lille.

The 22-year-old arrives as one of European football's top young defenders having helped Lille win the Ligue 1 title under the nose of Paris Saint-Germain in 2020-21.

But with just one Eredivisie season under his belt while on loan at Heerenveen, Botman’s reputation in his home country isn’t as great as it is in France, where he has made his name.

Botman is a regular for the Netherlands Under-21s side but is yet to make his senior international debut.

And Dutch journalist Marcel van de Kraan was quick to highlight the similarities between Botman and one of world football’s elite centre-backs.

“The [transfer fee] has been surprising for us,” van de Kraan told Sky Sports. “Sven Botman is a man who has not had a great reputation in Holland because he’s spent most of his time abroad.

“He left early at Ajax and he’s been doing really well. Who does he remind me of? Maybe not to the stature or greatness, but another man who never lived up to a big reputation in Holland, Virgil van Dijk.”

The Liverpool defender had to wait until he was 24-years-old before making his Netherlands debut.

“[van Dijk] came almost from nowhere,” van de Kraan added. “Went abroad to Celtic, then to Liverpool and we all know where he is. I really do hope for Sven that he can do something similar.

“He has got the physical presence and everything is really looking great for him.”

Former Newcastle United striker finds new club

Former Newcastle striker Joselu has found a new club following the end of his contract at relegated La Liga side Deportivo Alaves.

It has been confirmed that the 32-year-old has joined Espanyol on a free transfer, signing a three-year deal at the Catalan club.

The Spanish forward scored six goals in 46 Premier League appearances for Newcastle before leaving to join Alaves for £2.5million in 2019.

And Joselu rediscovered his scoring form back in Spain as he reached double-figures in each of his three seasons at the Basque club.

With 34 goals in 97 La Liga appearances for Alaves, Joselu arrived at Espanyol with a respectable goalscoring reputation in Spain.