Sven Botman's message to 'crazy, super' Newcastle United fans

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Sven Botman wants to stand tall for Newcastle United.

The defender yesterday completed a £35million move to the club from Lille. Botman, almost 6ft 4ins tall, was also a target for AC Milan, but the Serie A club couldn’t match the offer from United.

And Botman, after speaking to head coach Eddie Howe, was quickly convinced that he could progress his career on Tyneside.

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Newcastle United players report back for pre-season training

The left-sided centre-half, Newcastle’s third summer signing, had also been a target for the club in January, and Botman, hoping to progress to the senior Holland set-up while at Newcastle, hopes to add something in attack as well as defence.

“I’m a tall guy, strong in duels,” said the Holland Under-21 international. “I like to play one-v-ones against strikers.

“But I also like to help the build up from the back. I’m left footed, but I can also play with the right. I have to improve a lot, and I think Newcastle, for now, is the best step for me to develop myself.”

Botman – who started his career at Ajax – has been likened to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, his Dutch countryman.

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Sven Botman yesterday completed his move to Newcastle United.Sven Botman yesterday completed his move to Newcastle United.
Sven Botman yesterday completed his move to Newcastle United.

“I’m far from his level,” said Botman, who won the Ligue 1 title at Lille in 2020/21. “I want to reach, that’s my goal. Virgil’s a great defender, but I’m far from his level.

“I think, to play, in the Premier League I can go faster to his level and be like him one day. I think Newcastle is a great environment to develop myself and become a defender like him.”

Botman visited St James’s Park for the first time earlier this week, and he’s supporters that he can’t wait to play at the stadium.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.
Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.

“Very impressive, very big,” said Botman. “The fans are crazy, so I can’t wait to play. They have crazy, super fans. If you watch them play football, it’s always with passion.”

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Botman – who has signed a five-year deal – is the club’s most expensive defender, but the price tag doesn’t faze him.

“At the end (of the day), the transfer market at the moment is very strange,” said Botman. “Clubs are paying a lot of money for players at the moment. I’m not thinking too much about this.”

Howe – who welcomed his players back for the start of pre-season training yesterday – highlighted Botman’s technical ability and physicality when asked about the signing.

“I’m delighted Sven’s joining us,” said Howe. “He’s technically very good, physically very good, and has a great attitude. At 22, he already has solid experience at the top level, but he’s at a great age to grow with this team.

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"I’m looking forward to getting to work with him – and seeing him with his new team-mates.”

Botman – who played for Holland’s Under-21 side this summer – will start pre-season training later next week after taking a short break.

The club, which finished 11th in the Premier League last season, had already signed Nick Pope and Matt Targett from Burnley and Aston Villa respectively.