Newcastle United eye cut-price defender deal as Sven Botman learns Eddie Howe’s ‘clear vision’

Newcastle United have certainly shored things up defensively in 2022 – but Eddie Howe is still keen to bolster his back line.

After setting a Premier League record for most goals conceded in a calendar year in 2021, Newcastle boast one of the better defensive records in the top flight since the turn of the year.

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That is no small part down to head coach Howe’s organisation and shrewd transfer business with Dan Burn, Matt Targett and Nick Pope making The Magpies a more formidable unit.

Sven Botman of Newcastle United is marked by Erling Haaland of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St. James Park on August 21, 2022 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The £35million summer arrival of Sven Botman has added some top-level European quality to the defence. The 22-year-old is becoming accustomed to his new surroundings with Howe quickly making an impression on him.

"He has a very clear vision of what he wants,” Botman told MOTD X. “For example in one of my first training sessions someone shot from 30-metres or something on the goal and he said ‘no, no, we’re not going to do this any more, it’s play, play, play’.”

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So far this season, Howe has rotated his back four with Fabian Schar, Burn, Botman and Jamaal Lascelles featuring.

Stefan De Vrij of FC Internazionale looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group C match between FC Internazionale and FC Bayern München at San Siro Stadium on September 07, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Scaccianoce/Getty Images)
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But Newcastle are reportedly still in the market for another centre-back, with Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij being touted as an ideal partner for Botman.

The 30-year-old has played 58 times for the Netherlands national team and would be seen as a possible mentor for the Newcastle defender.

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The Express claim De Vrij is being monitored by Newcastle and, with his contract set to expire at the end of the 2022-23 season, he is currently considering his options and could be available on a cut-price deal in January.