Lille centre-back José Fonte has shared what he told former teammate Sven Botman before he joined Newcastle United.
However, speaking with La Voix des Sports, Fonte revealed how he told the 22-year-old to join the Magpies when the opportunity presented itself.
“When [Gabriel Magalhaes] leaves, I asked [Luis] Campos the name of his successor,” he said.
“When he tells me about Sven, I go straight to YouTube and my first impression is that he’s not ready and it’s going to be hard. Tactically, I see things that I didn’t like.
“After two games, I told Campos that I was wrong. He had this ability to learn quickly. Beyond that, he’s a good person, a very good professional. We spent two extraordinary years. Sven pushes up the pitch, he’s aggressive with a good left-foot and wins duels. Tactically, I think I helped him find good timing, knowing when to come out, when to stay.
“When he told me about Newcastle, I told him to go for it. And they’re third now, no?”
Fonte told Botman to join Newcastle
After spells in the Premier League with Southampton, Crystal Palace and West Ham, Fonte knows all about the rigours of English football.
Having formed a strong partnership with one another, the Portugal international would have known a move to Newcastle would have been better for the progression of the youngster’s career.
In such a short period of time, this is already proving to be the case.
This term, the 22-year-old has made 13 top-flight appearances. Having earned a strong 7.08 average match rating which equals Joelinton’s score, the Dutchman leads the Magpies with the highest pass success rate: being 85.7%.
His immense physicality and dominant presence in the air means he has had no trouble adjusting to English football.
At such a young age, Botman still has over a decade left at the top level. With Eddie Howe’s ongoing project on Tyneside, fans will hope he will remain with the club for years to come.
Therefore, Toon supporters may have Fonte to thank for convincing the defender to join the north-east giants.