Newcastle, now the world’s richest club, continues to spend its new money. This time it’s on 22 year-old center back Sven Botman for a reported €37 million. The Dutchman joins Matt Targett and Nick Pope as additions to the evolving Newcastle defense, with rumors that more signings are in the works.
A member of the Ajax youth program since age nine, Botman began his professional career at Jung Aja (aka Ajax II, the reserve team of Ajax) in 2018-2019 in the Eerste Divisie. He was loaned to SC Heerenveen in the Eredivisie for the 2019-2020 season, where he made 26 appearances.
He then transferred to Lille in the French top division in 2020, where he played in all but one match, helping Lille to a first-place finish. In his 25 games last season, he helped Lille to eight clean sheets, while earning four yellows, and conceding 16 fouls. As a nice bonus, he also contributed four goals.
Botman has experience in both the Europa League and Champion’s League, and has featured on the Dutch national teams since he was 15, earning his first senior call-up in November of 2020.
How he will fit in a Newcastle
Botman looks like a solid buy for Newcastle. The Magpies gave up a lot of goals last season (62), so they need someone to add some toughness and consistency to the back line. At 6’ 5”, Botman could offer the athleticism, physicality, and experience they need. He’s a lefty too, which is a precious attribute in today’s market. I expect him to slot right into the starting 11.
The EPL isn’t an easy league to adjust to, and Newcastle is undergoing a lot of change, which may take some time for Eddie Howe to get right. But if Newcastle can build on their end of season form, and successfully integrate new players such as GK Nick Pope and defender Matt Targett, then Botman could have some clean sheet and therefore fantasy value. Those are real ifs, to be sure. But especially in Fantrax, where defenders who see a lot of action can amass significant fantasy returns, Botman is a player who should be on your radar.