Sven Botman is hoping to help Newcastle United in their goal to "get to the top" after finalising his move from Lille.

Newcastle confirmed earlier this week a deal, worth a reported upfront cost of £31.8million (€37m), had been reached with Lille to sign the central defender.

That transfer was made official on Friday, with the ambitious Premier League club seeing off interest from a number of other teams, including Serie A champions Milan.

Netherlands Under-21 international Botman becomes Newcastle's third signing of the window following the permanent capture of Matt Targett and the arrival of Nick Pope.

Eddie Howe's side continue to be linked with an array of other players, and Botman is confident he has made the right choice in moving to St James' Park.

"I'm really happy – delighted – and I can't wait to start this new adventure," Botman, who penned a five-year contract, told Newcastle's official website. 

"This is the best day of my life, to sign a contract with Newcastle United. It's a day I've worked hard for and I'm very excited.

"Newcastle had a long-term plan to get to the top, for both me and for the club, and they play in the Premier League which is the best league in Europe. 

"The whole package is just perfect. I'm looking forward now to meeting the fans and also my new team-mates."

Newcastle may reportedly pay up to £35m for Botman, which would make him their third-most expensive signing behind Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton (both £40m).

Botman won the Ligue 1 title during his two years with Lille, having previously emerged through Ajax's youth system without making a competitive senior appearance.

"I'm delighted Sven is joining us. He is technically very good, physically very good and has a great attitude," Newcastle boss Howe added.

"At 22, he already has solid experience at the top level but he is at a great age to grow with this team. 

"I am looking forward to getting to work with him and seeing him with his new team-mates."

Newcastle begin their 2022-23 Premier League season at home against newly promoted Nottingham Forest on August 6.

Hugo Ekitike may end up staying at Reims in this transfer window as he waits on a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Newcastle United have long since agreed a deal with Reims for the forward, but the transfer has not progressed further.

Reports have suggested the demands of Ekitike's agent have put off Newcastle, while the 20-year-old has continued to be linked to other clubs.

And Oscar Garcia, the Reims coach, revealed on Friday the player is in no hurry to leave.

Wantaway Reims stars are said to have a July 10 deadline to secure moves, and with purported interest from Madrid subsequently dismissed, Ekitike's short-term future could still be in Ligue 1.

Garcia told a news conference: "He told me that he wanted to stay, but if Real Madrid or Barcelona arrive...

"I feel Hugo is calm. I spoke with him. He will have no problem staying at the club – and neither will I."

 

Ekitike scored 10 goals and assisted three more in the league last season, contributing a goal involvement every 98 minutes on average.

Attempting only 31 shots, his conversion rate of 32.3 per cent was the second-best among players with 20 or more attempts across Europe, far outperforming his expected goals total of 7.0.

As well as Newcastle and Madrid, Ekitike has been linked with Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain.

Sven Botman considered Newcastle United "a little better" than Milan as he weighed up his transfer options, settling on a "dream" Premier League move.

Lille defender Botman is expected to complete his move to Newcastle on Friday, with a deal in principle announced earlier this week.

That reported £31.8million (€37m) agreement brought to an end a long-running saga, with the centre-back the subject of interest from both Newcastle and Milan.

Botman discussed the merits of signing for both clubs following a January window in which neither could convince Lille to sell.

Milan initially seemed favourites to finally land their man following the 2021-22 season, but they could not match Newcastle's offer.

And Botman explained to De Telegraaf: "Newcastle's great project and the chance to play in the Premier League were two decisive aspects in making a decision.

"Milan had also given me good feelings, but Newcastle more so; they seemed a little better.

"I've been dreaming of the Premier League all my life and now this dream comes true."

Botman revealed he was concerned after missing out on a January transfer, believing such opportunities "only pass once".

But he was ultimately pleased to stick around, face Chelsea in the Champions League and depart Lille "in the right way", still joining Newcastle.

Joelinton has urged Newcastle United coach Eddie Howe to get on the phone to Neymar and sign the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

With Kylian Mbappe now the main man at PSG, having renewed his contract in France, Neymar has been linked with a move away from the club.

And Newcastle, with the world's richest football club owners in Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, are in theory one of very few potential suitors who could afford the sport's most expensive player.

The Magpies already have two Brazilians, too, in Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes.

After Thiago Silva told Globo that Neymar "has to go to Chelsea", Joelinton, speaking to Brazilian podcast Cast FC, said: "We can get him a spot. Sure, in any team in the world.

"If he comes, it will be... I can't explain it. The man is an idol. He's huge in world football.

"So, the invitation is done: Ney, if you are listening to this, you can come. I'll run to you all the time. [The ball] will come easy."

Newcastle already have a tricky winger in Allan Saint-Maximin, but Joelinton did not hesitate in offering away his team-mate's number 10 shirt.

"His quality, the visibility... if we have the chance, I hope," the forward-turned-midfielder said. "Coach, call him. The number 10 shirt is there waiting for him.

"I'll send a message to Bruno. Bruno has his contact; he can send a message inviting Ney to play there."

Sven Botman is belatedly leaving Lille to sign for Newcastle United in a reported £31.8million (€37m) transfer.

Botman had been linked to both big-spending Premier League side Newcastle and Serie A champions Milan since January.

The defender discussed "very concrete" interest from both clubs, describing a "good project" at Newcastle, only for Lille to reject the Magpies' advances in the middle of the season.

Newcastle and Milan appeared to be frustrated at the start of this transfer window, too, with Lille demanding a significant fee for a player determined to leave Ligue 1.

But Eddie Howe's Newcastle forged a breakthrough late last week and agreed a deal that has now been confirmed following a medical on Tyneside.

The Magpies on Tuesday revealed that the formalities of the transfer are set to be concluded this week, with the 22-year then officially becoming a Newcastle player.

Botman, a former Ajax academy graduate who won Ligue 1 in his first season in France, has agreed terms to put pen to paper a five-year contract at St James' Park.

Following the signings of Matt Targett and Nick Pope, Botman would appear likely to come into Howe's team ahead of Dan Burn, another powerful, left-footed centre-back who was signed in his stead in January.

Burn won 4.3 aerial duels and made 6.1 clearances and 0.9 blocks per 90 minutes after signing from Brighton and Hove Albion for £13m, beating Botman's marks for the 2021-22 season in each metric (2.3, 4.5, 0.8).

But Howe will hope Botman can be key to Newcastle's development into a more possession-focused side; he completed 53.4 passes per 90 with Lille to Burn's 28.6 at Newcastle.

Newcastle United have launched their third kit for the 2022-23 season, with the strip bearing a significant resemblance to that worn by Saudi Arabia's national team.

The Magpies' alternate kit uses a base colour of white but then has green trim, with the neckline, badges and main sponsor all appearing in the secondary colour.

Saudi Arabia's national team wear a home kit comprising very similar characteristics.

The club were purchased last October by a consortium that included Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which became the majority shareholder.

The Premier League received "assurances" there was no Saudi-state involvement in Newcastle, even though the country's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman – also known as 'MBS' – is the PIF's chairman.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record led to many urging authorities to block the purchase, with it seen by critics as a classic case of "sportswashing", but the deal went through regardless.

Images of the new kit were leaked in May and saw Newcastle attract significant criticism, bringing about fresh questions about the detachment of Newcastle and the Saudi state.

However, the criticism and backlash seemingly did not put the club off releasing the strip anyway and Newcastle's official statement features no reference to the controversial likeness.

It is not the first time Newcastle have worn green, having done so as recently as 2019-20. It also featured on their third jersey in 2014-15.

England goalkeeper Nick Pope has secured his Premier League future by joining Newcastle United after suffering the pain of relegation with Burnley.

Pope, 30, has reportedly cost Newcastle around £10million and is expected to replace Martin Dubravka as Eddie Howe's number one.

The former Charlton Athletic player has signed a four-year contract at Newcastle and becomes the Magpies' second confirmed deal of the close season, after Matt Targett's loan move last term was made permanent.

Pope, capped eight times by England, continued to impress at Burnley even as the Clarets headed for the Championship. It was inevitable he would leave after they went down, given his desire to play at the World Cup later this year.

Among goalkeepers with at least 10 appearances in the 2021-22 Premier League, Pope had the fourth best save percentage (71.69 per cent).

He managed nine clean sheets from 36 appearances, which was more shut-outs than Manchester United's David de Gea (eight from 38 games) and West Ham's Lukasz Fabianski (eight from 37 games).

While at Burnley, where he spent six seasons, he was named in the 2019-20 Premier League team of the year after keeping 15 clean sheets, which was bettered only by Manchester City's Ederson.

Head coach Howe said: "Nick is an exceptional Premier League and international level goalkeeper, so I'm very pleased to be adding strong competition to a very important position.

"There has been a lot of interest in him from other clubs this summer, so I'd like to thank our owners and everyone behind the scenes for getting us ahead of the competition.

"I'm delighted he is joining us as we prepare for the exciting challenge ahead."

Pope is relishing the challenge, with Newcastle having enjoyed a revival in the second half of the season following an influx of transfer funds from the club's new Saudi owners.

From looking like relegation fodder, Newcastle raced up the table to finish in 11th place, while Burnley ended up 18th in the 20-team table.

Pope said Newcastle had been "taking good steps in the right direction in the recent past".

"This club maybe underperformed in the past a little and would like to perform better. The ambitions are there to go to the next level," Pope added in an interview on the club's website.

"It's something for myself that's really exciting to be a part of."

Newcastle confirmed the long-anticipated arrival of sporting director Dan Ashworth in May, after he left Brighton and Hove Albion, and have been strongly linked in recent weeks with Lille defender Sven Botman and Reims forward Hugo Ekitike.

Barcelona's much-publicised financial difficulties are creating unwanted kind of leverage in the transfer market.

The Blaugrana have been linked to the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah, but via a free transfer, circumventing the need for an initial outlay.

Reports suggest one of their transfer targets this off-season appears to be unattainable, though.

TOP STORY – SEVILLA STIFLE KOUNDE MOVE TO BARCELONA

Barcelona's reported interest in Jules Kounde will face a stumbling block in the form of Sevilla, according to Marca.

The Andalusian club have set a €60million price for Kounde, reportedly knowing that interest from Premier League clubs will meet that benchmark and effectively price Barcelona out of the market.

In addition, Sevilla would want to close the deal quickly, forcing Barcelona into cash-flow difficulty if they were to meet the demands for Kounde.

Barcelona are unwilling to pay the €60m despite sourcing fresh funds, with a reported need to primarily balance this year's budget.

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Arsenal and Newcastle United are keen on Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, whose contract runs out in 2023, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Borussia Dortmund are set to sign Ajax striker Sebastian Haller, per ESPN.

Real Madrid have stepped up their interest in Raheem Sterling with his future in Manchester City uncertain, the Mirror reports.

Chelsea are considering signing 29-year-old Lens full-back Jonathan Clauss, Goal is reporting.

Tottenham are reportedly looking to swoop in with an offer for Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who has been a key target this transfer period for rivals Arsenal.

Just days ago stories were written about Arsenal feeling "cautiously optimistic" about their chances of landing the 25-year-old Brazilian, despite their reported bid of £30million falling well below City's £50m asking price.

That move is now in jeopardy thanks to Tottenham's involvement, with the club able to offer Champions League football to the striker who has scored 20 Champions League goals across City's past five European campaigns (38 games).

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SWOOP IN WITH OFFER OF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FOOTBALL

There is no doubt about Jesus' ability to perform at the highest level, scoring at least seven goals in each of his Premier League seasons since arriving as a 19-year-old. He has also added more creativity to his game, with 21 Premier League assists in his past three campaigns compared to 10 from his first three with City.

The Mirror reports another aspect of his game that Spurs boss Antonio Conte values is his willingness to play out wide on a wing, which means he could still complement star Harry Kane if their formation only calls for one striker.

It is not mentioned whether Tottenham are willing to meet City's asking price, but a second serious bidder will mean Arsenal's desire to land him for a much smaller figure is likely no longer possible.

 

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– Chelsea will loan striker Romelu Lukaku back to Inter for a fee of at least £8.5m, according to the Daily Mail.

– The Athletic is reporting that Raheem Sterling has been asking friends about life in west London after Fabrizio Romano revealed Chelsea had a £21.5m bid turned down for the City winger.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester United are preparing another bid for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but if Barcelona will not bring their asking price down, the Old Trafford club are prepared to pivot to Wolves' Ruben Neves.

– According to Sport, Bayern Munich are demanding €50m from Barcelona for Robert Lewandowski, while the Spanish club are currently offering €40m plus performance bonuses.

Newcastle United have been told by Bayer Leverkusen that 22-year-old French winger Moussa Diaby will cost €50m, according to The Sun.

Milan's Serie A triumph played out amid a tumultuous boardroom backdrop.

And the Rossoneri's notoriously thrifty project could now test Paolo Maldini's patience, with the need to bolster their squad for domestic and continental competitions not yet being met.

The Italian champions reportedly losing out on long-desired targets could potentially bring the subject of Maldini's future to the fore again.

TOP STORY – MILAN TO LOSE OUT ON SANCHES, BOTMAN

Milan look set to miss out on the signings of Lille pair Renato Sanches and Sven Botman, according to Calciomercato.

Although the Rossoneri had agreed personal terms with Sanches several months ago, Paris Saint-Germain are set to double Milan's offer to Lille of €15million.

They face a similar dynamic with defender Botman, who also agreed personal terms with Milan, as fellow long-term suitors Newcastle United attempt to swoop.

With Maldini and right-hand-man Ricky Massara's contracts to expire at the end of the month, these failings will likely create inconvenient tension.

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– Chelsea are interested in signing Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, according to Fabrizio Romano.

– Meanwhile, The Sun is reporting the Blues are set to sign Ousmane Dembele, but the winger will demand a starting spot instead of a squad role.

– Manchester United are hoping Barcelona reduce their asking price for Frenkie de Jong, per The Athletic.

– Liverpool are bracing for the eventual departure of Mohamed Salah as contract renewal talks stall, the Mirror reports.

Arsenal are set to make their first big splash of this transfer period with the signing of 22-year-old Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira.

The Gunners have been linked with various big names – including Raheem Sterling, Youri Tielemans and Christopher Nkunku – but have struggled to get deals over the line for players that could be considered key signings.

Vieira, who has made 20 appearances for Portugal Under-21s, was a move that came out of left-field, but those that call the Emirates Stadium home will hope it proves to be a masterstroke.

 

TOP STORY – VIEIRA'S MOVE TO ARSENAL REACHES FINAL STAGES

According to ESPN, a deal in the range of €40million is said to be in place, with Vieira said to be heading to London for his medical on Friday before finalising a five-year deal.

The talented attacking midfielder – who played in both the number-10 role and as a second striker – finished the Primeira Liga season with six goals and 14 assists from 27 appearances. Nobody in Portugal's top division had more assists.

Vieira reportedly had a €50m release clause with Porto, but the club were happy to accept the reduced figure.

It could be the start of a big week for Arsenal, with ESPN also mentioning they are leading the race for Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus in a deal that could be worth up to £50 million.

 

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– According to The Sun, Liverpool remain interested in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, but they will remain patient and not pursue him in this transfer period.

– Inter have turned down a €50m bid from Paris Saint-Germain for Milan Skriniar, holding firm at an asking price of €80m, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Newcastle United target Sven Botman is reportedly favouring Milan if he is to leave Lille, per Football Insider.

– The Telegraph is reporting Southampton have agreed to a deal worth up to £15m for 20-year-old City goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu, while The Athletic claims they are also interested in 18-year-old City midfielder Romeo Lavia.

Fulham and Wolves will reportedly compete for the signature of Sporting midfielder Joao Palhinha, according to 90min.

Manchester City will start their Premier League title defence at West Ham, while Frank Lampard will host his former club Chelsea with Everton on the opening weekend.

City pipped Liverpool to their fourth English top-flight crown under Pep Guardiola and there will be significant interest around their August 7 opener at London Stadium, where new signing Erling Haaland could make his debut after arriving from Borussia Dortmund.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool will aim to mount another title charge in the 2022-23 campaign and they go to newly promoted Fulham for their first game.

Chelsea eased into third place last term and their first league game of the Todd Boehly era sees them travel to face Blues great Lampard at Everton, who narrowly avoided relegation to maintain their top-flight status.

Manchester United finished in a disappointing sixth last campaign, with a 4-0 thrashing at Brighton and Hove Albion a low point, and they host the Seagulls in what will be Erik ten Hag's first game in charge.

Arsenal will visit Crystal Palace on August 5 as the season's opening game, while promoted side Bournemouth are at home to Aston Villa.

Antonio Conte's Tottenham sneaked into the Champions League last season and open their campaign at home to Southampton, with Nottingham Forest playing their first top-flight fixture in 23 years away at Newcastle United, who climbed out the relegation zone under Eddie Howe in the previous term.

Testing opening for Liverpool, Guardiola faces late Blues clash

Liverpool were in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple for much of the 2021-22 season, but fell short and ended up with just the EFL Cup and FA Cup crowns to their name.

Klopp's side will be tested in the opening weeks of the season, facing four – United, Chelsea, City and Arsenal – of the traditional 'big six' sides in the first 11 games, alongside a Merseyside derby at Everton on September 9.

The first clash between United and Liverpool will come just three matchdays into the season, with the Reds visiting Old Trafford on August 20.

Liverpool then head Chelsea and Arsenal either side of the late September international break, with champions City travelling to Anfield just a week after the Gunners trip.

Supporters in Manchester will eagerly await October 1 for the first meeting between United and City at Etihad Stadium, while the first north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal comes on the same day.

The Premier League title race went down to the wire last campaign, and City could face a tough task if it does so again as they host Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea in an enticing clash on the penultimate weekend.

Premier League opening weekend fixtures:

Crystal Palace v Arsenal
Bournemouth v Aston Villa
Everton v Chelsea
Fulham v Liverpool
Leeds United v Wolves
Leicester City v Brentford
Newcastle United v Nottingham Forest
Tottenham v Southampton
Manchester United v Brighton and Hove Albion
West Ham v Manchester City

Despite winning the Premier League title this past season, Manchester City are not wasting time when it comes to improving their squad.

With the signings of Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland already confirmed, the next order of business for the blue half of Manchester is bolstering the midfield.

While City have reportedly long identified who fits their criteria, now they may be able to advance with negotiations.


TOP STORY – MAN CITY TO MOVE FOR PHILLIPS

Having already closed on other positional needs, Manchester City are preparing to table an offer for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, according to the Athletic.

Reports suggest a bid will soon be on the way, following the completion of the 26-year-old's international commitments with England.

Phillips has been a target of City for some time, but with Rodri in need of competition, the incentive to sign him has increased after Fernandinho's unexpected departure from the Etihad Stadium.

City are said to believe a figure between £45million and £50m will be sufficient for Leeds to part with Phillips.

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– Juventus expect Paul Pogba to sign a contract with them at the beginning of July after reaching a verbal agreement, according to the Guardian.

Chelsea have begun talks with Inter over a loan return for striker Romelu Lukaku, but the 29-year-old will need to take a wage cut, the Telegraph reports.

– Manchester United are favourites to sign Porto midfielder Vitinha, says A Bola.

– TottenhamNewcastle and Aston Villa are among the clubs interested in signing former Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale on a free transfer, the Sun reports.

Manchester City are looking to make a big midfield signing in this transfer window, with Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips reportedly at the top of their wish-list.

Phillips, 26, has been with Leeds his entire senior career, and excelled on the world stage when he started every game in England's run to the Euro 2020 final.

He was rewarded for his excellent international play with England's 2020-21 Senior Men's Player of the Year award, and may have the opportunity to parlay that into Champions League football at the Etihad Stadium.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SETS SIGHTS ON LEEDS' PHILLIPS

Phillips' stats of one goal and three assists in his past two Premier League campaigns do not tell the story of his impact, as he is arguably England's best defensive midfielder.

After 12 years with Leeds, Phillips has reportedly played his last game for the club, with The Sun claiming City have prepared a £60million bid.

ESPN mentions a factor working in Phillips' favour with City is that he will count as a homegrown player for Champions League purposes, and that Pep Guardiola views him as a strong fit for both the number-six and number-eight roles in his set-up.

 

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– The Manchester Evening News is reporting Manchester United remain in discussions with Barcelona for Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but they are not willing to pay the current £85m price-tag.

Liverpool and City are both monitoring 17-year-old Barcelona midfielder Gavi, despite his release clause reportedly coming in at £85m, according to Marca.

– RB Leipzig have set a price of £100m for teams chasing Christopher Nkunku due to the Frenchman not desiring a move away this transfer period, with the Independent reporting interest remains from Arsenal, United and Paris Saint-Germain.

– According to the Telegraph, Newcastle United are moving on from Lille defender Sven Botman after the asking price was raised from £30m to £36m.

– The Telegraph is reporting that Tottenham have joined the race for Everton's Richarlison, with the asking price set at £50m.

With Marcus Rashford reportedly drawing interest from Italy, Spain and even Tottenham, Manchester United are trying to keep him at Old Trafford by placing a price-tag on him "between £70million and £80m".

In a disappointing campaign, the 24-year-old scored just five goals from 32 games in all club competition, and he did not play a full 90 minutes in any of the five Champions League fixtures he was healthy for (subbed on twice, subbed off three times).

His Premier League season also did not go to plan, missing the first seven games due to a shoulder injury, and finishing with 12 of his 25 appearances coming off the bench.

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOK TO KEEP RIVALS AWAY FROM RASHFORD

The exact figures of "between £70m and £80m" came from Italian super-agent Roberto De Fanti during an exclusive interview with CaughtOffside, where he said he expected United to ask for "around £40m, maybe £50m."

De Fanti mentioned he was aware of interest from "all the top sides in Spain and Italy" and that Rashford's management had met with Tottenham about a potential deal, but Spurs "feel negotiating a deal for Rashford is virtually impossible" due to the asking price.

Emphasising that it is not a case of United trying to scrounge every possible dollar out of a sale, De Fanti said "United are confident a club is unlikely to pay that [figure]", and that he is not on the list of players Erik ten Hag is planning on selling to fund up to six new signings.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to The Sun, Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku has been contacting Inter since Christmas in an attempt to expedite a transfer away from Stamford Bridge.

– Todofichajes is reporting Liverpool view Chelsea's Christian Pulisic as a potential replacement for Sadio Mane, with the American's price-tag said to be in the range of £42m.

West Ham United sent scouts to watch Denmark's recent Nations League fixture, with the Daily Star reporting they are interested in both Christian Eriksen and Atalanta right-back Joakim Maehle.

– According to De Telegraaf, Barcelona are willing to part ways with Frenkie de Jong if they receive what they perceive to be a fair offer, with Manchester United leading the race.

– The Express is reporting that Newcastle United have set their sights on Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin after missing out on Bayer Leverkusen star Moussa Diaby.

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