If Newcastle United had got their way in January, Sven Botman would be a Premier League player right now.
The Magpies tried desperately to sign the Dutchman from Lille, but were unable to land the 22-year-old.
The Ligue 1 side wanted £46million for Botman according to the Telegraph – an asking price that Newcastle did not match.
However, he could be a target once again in the summer, with the Mirror stating that Newcastle will renew their interest.
In the meantime, Botman remains with Lille, and was on English shores last night. His side faced Chelsea in the Champions League, losing 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
The defender impressed Gary Lineker, who described Botman as ‘decent’. However, Premier League winning defender Rio Ferdinand has some reservations.
Ferdinand worried ‘pace’ could be an issue for Sven Botman in the PL
Ferdinand was on punditry duty for the Champions League clash on Tuesday night on BT Sport, and spoke about Botman before the game.
While the Man United legend recognised his clear ability, he’s worried about how he’d adapt to the Premier League.
“I think there is still much to do,” he said.
“I think he’s been a consistent, solid performer for Lille but, again, going into the Premier League is a different proposition.
“My only concern is pace. I think he’s solid enough but you look at even these clips we’ve picked here, [he’s] always slide tackling. That always concerns me when I look at a defender.
“You’re sliding because you’re late to something, you obviously lack pace, you’ve seen the danger a bit later than you should. As good as these clips do look, as a reservation that would concern me.
“There’s no doubt in this guy, he knows how to defend. He gets himself in good positions, he very rarely gets exploited for his pace which is great but then that’s in the French league he’s done that.
“The big question when you’re recruiting is can he transfer that to the Premier League which seems a faster, NBA-style pace at times.”
Newcastle can’t afford to miss out on Botman again
Whenever a player comes from a foreign league, there are always questions raised about how they will adapt.
Ferdinand is right to have doubts, and he knows better than most what it takes to be a top level Premier League centre-back.
While he might be worried, we’ve seen a plethora of players come from Ligue 1 and go on to thrive in the Premier League.
Botman has the potential to do just that – it’s just a shame he isn’t already a Newcastle player.
Hopefully Amanda Staveley and co make a fresh bid in the summer and we finally get to see Botman in black and white stripes. Then he’ll have the chance to put Ferdinand’s doubts to bed.