Daily Mirror


Defender Botman keen to leave Lille in summer and says: Newcastle looks like a great project

- BY SIMON BIRD @SimonBird_

EDDIE HOWE will go back in for top defensive target Sven Botman in the summer.

Newcastle will look to revive the biggest deal they missed out on in January, and also target Benfica striker Darwin Nunez.

Toon boss Howe (below) is confident he can lead the Geordies to Premier League safety after getting five new faces in January in a £91million spending spree.

But they missed out on £35m Lille defender Botman who has given the Magpies encouragem­ent to go back for him in the summer after confirming he will leave the French club. Benfica star Nunez, 22, rated at £40m and also a target of West Ham, is on their summer shopping list when the Saudi-backed club will go again with the target of a top-10 finish. Newcastle will appoint a director of football in the next few weeks to oversee summer spending plans. Botman said: “Newcastle is working on a great project and I thought it would be fun to be a part of it, especially if you look at where Manchester City and Paris SaintGerma­in started. “I can confirm Newcastle and AC Milan were concrete options. Both were good options for me – I was ready to take the next step.

“Everyone says about Newcastle that it’s all about money.

“But it’s a very nice project, if you look at where Man City and PSG started.”

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia owners are ready to go again to accelerate Newcastle’s developmen­t.

And they believe that a fresh start in the summer, not burdened by their current league position, will increase their buying power and ability to get top targets done.

Howe will now focus on shoring up the club’s position and defence with Dan Burn and Matt Targett added to Kieran Trippier in a newlook back-line set to feature in their next game at home to Everton on Tuesday.

Howe said: “We have been very keen to add competitio­n defensivel­y and

Dan fits the profile we have been looking for.

“He is naturally left-footed, which provides further balance to our backline, and he will be a great addition to the group.”

Burn, born in nearby Blyth, said: “I’m buzzing to be here. I never thought I’d be in this position so to be a Newcastle player and to be around St. James’ Park, it’s something I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid.

“I can’t wait to step out in the shirt and see what it feels like. “From sitting in the East Stand as a kid to now playing for the club is


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