Newcastle United make final check on summer transfer target

Dan Ashworth has watched Sven Botman make his final appearance this season – ahead of a decision on a Newcastle United move.

Ashworth, the club’s new sporting director, watched Lille’s Botman play for Holland’s Under-21 side in a European Championship qualifier against Wales in Llanelli yesterday.

Botman played 45 minutes at the Parc-Y-Scarlets, where his team won thanks to a late goal from Lutsharel Geertruida.

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Ashworth was primarily at the game to support his son Zac, who is a defender for West Bromwich Albion, where the 51-year-old had a spell as sporting and technical director. The 19-year-old was an unused substitute.

However, the game also gave Ashworth – who started work at Newcastle last week – the opportunity to watch defender Botman, also a target for AC Milan. The 22-year-old wants to make a decision on his future before going on holiday.

Speaking earlier this month, Botman said: “Talks are underway now. I won't go into all of that, but it's going well. I do hope that the transfer for the new season is completed, preferably for pre-season.

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"Those clubs (Newcastle and Milan) are interested, yes. I can't and won't say much more about it. What I want is to take a nice step towards a nice competition.”

Ashworth touched on the work that needs to be done in the transfer market after arriving at St James’s Park following a period of gardening leave at Brighton and Hove Albion.

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Sven Botman celebrates scoring for Lille last season.

“We’re about to start a transfer window, so there will be a lot of things on the to-do list with players in and out, things Eddie will want to do for the first-team squad,” said Ashworth.

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New Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth.