Eddie Howe should find out next week whether or not Sven Botman is going to join Newcastle United.

The Dutch defender was heavily linked with the Magpies in January, but the new Toon owners couldn’t agree a price with Lille, who wanted £46million. However, Botman was desperate to move to St James’ Park according to Amanda Staveley.

That has led to Newcastle making a fresh move this summer, but there is another hurdle in the shape of AC Milan.

While the Magpies missed out in January, it looked like Milan were going to pounce early this summer. It was even reported that the 22-year-old had agreed to join the Italian side.

Lille v Paris Saint Germain - French League 1
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Those rumours were premature, and Newcastle have since re-entered the picture. The Northern Echo even claimed last month that there is confidence that a deal can be done.

The Times have now echoed those sentiments, reporting that Toon officials believe they can persuade Botman to head to England.

However, his most recent comments suggest that might be difficult.

What Sven Botman has said about a transfer

The centre-back has spoke to ESPN Netherlands about his future, and was specifically asked about joining AC Milan.

Lille OSC v Chelsea FC: Round Of Sixteen Leg Two - UEFA Champions League
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“It’s just an important moment for me, so I hear about this almost every day,” he said.

“Things are progressing and I hope that before the start of the preparation more clarity.”

Botman was then asked if the team he is in talks with is AC Milan. He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t need to. The smile on his face said it all.

I’m no body language expert, but it isn’t looking good for Newcastle.

Why a decision on who he will join could arrive soon

Botman’s expression suggests he’s heading to AC Milan over Newcastle. However, a decision isn’t final. But it could be soon.

The Times report that he will make a decision once the current international break is over.

He is currently with the Netherlands Under-21 side, preparing to face Gibraltar tonight in a European Championship qualifier. They then face Wales’ youngsters on Saturday evening.

Moldova  v Holland -U21 Men
Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images

That will be Botman’s final game of the season, and its conclusion should lead to an announcement regarding his future.

He’s Newcastle’s number one defensive target, but a deal suddenly feels very difficult. AC Milan are a huge club steeped in history, while their present is exciting too. They’re Serie A champions who will be competing in the Champions League.

They have also just received fresh investment that will help the Italian club grow.

While Newcastle are in a positive position themselves, this looks like a race that they won’t win. We should find out soon enough.

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