The Dutch defender has been of long-term interest to Newcastle as they attempted to bring him to Tyneside back in January only for Lille to reject any advances, and while they reportedly had a fee agreed for Botman this summer, the French club appear to be moving the goalposts in any potential deal by asking for more money.
However, the Magpies are still yet to walk away from the deal, which shows how highly Eddie Howe and Newcastle must rate Botman, coupled with the fact he is a left-footed centre-back – an arguably precious commodity in football, although they already have one in Dan Burn.
But with that in mind, Laurens believes that if Botman arrives, he will be doing so to replace Burn and not play alongside the January recruit.
He said: “I believe Eddie is a big fan as well, and rightly so, because again we go back to left-footed centre-backs, which is rare. I mean, they have one already in Dan Burn.
“I don’t know if the idea is to play Burn and Botman together if Botman signs, so two left footers, which again is quite rare – I mean, Spain have done it at the Euros, but it’s quite rare; or it is to play a back three, or it is because Botman is seen as an upgrade over Burn, which, no offence to Dan Burn if he’s listening, but I think that’s the case.
Who would you rather start for Newcastle?
“Because Botman is fantastic, he really is a fantastic player, and he will be such an asset for Newcastle if he signs.”
TIF Thoughts on Botman arriving…
There’s no doubting that the Lille centre-back would be a top signing, having already won Ligue 1 and played in the Champions League at the age of 22. However, it would be a slight surprise to see Eddie Howe and Newcastle look to dispose of Burn, who they only signed in January and was tipped for an England call-up due to his form last season.
Even St James’ Park legend Alan Shearer has been blown away by Burn’s impact at the Toon, with the BBC pundit praising the ‘magnificent’ 30-year-old on Twitter.
With Lille reportedly now wanting £36m for Botman, it would be a huge outlay for the Magpies to spend on someone just to compete with Burn and Fabian Schar, and with the latter signing a new deal not too long ago, it could signal that Howe wishes to play with three centre-backs more often going forward.