Milan and Lille Set to Meet to Discuss Defender’s Future

Milan and Lille have reportedly scheduled a meeting to discuss the future of the in-demand center-back Sven Botman amid Newcastle United links. Per Italian journalist Rudy Galetti, the Rossoneri have identified the highly-rated youngster as the ideal replacement for the injured Simon Kjaer.

The Danish defender has suffered a season-ending injury, leaving head coach Stefano Pioli short of reliable options at the back. Desperate to replace their defensive mainstay, Milan have scoured the market for potential solutions, with Botman’s name popping up as the ideal profile. 

Lille paid Ajax around €9million to sign the 21-year-old in July 2020. Little did they know the Dutchman would develop into one of the most coveted young defenders in European football in less than two years. After going from strength to strength at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Botman has tripled his price tag, drawing attention from a host of European clubs.

Newcastle have emerged as the front-runners in the race to land the youngster, with the wealthy new owners lining up a substantial €30m bid to lure Botman away from Ligue 1. Though Milan cannot match the Magpies’ financial power, Paolo Maldini remains hopeful of getting the deal over the line.

Lille chiefs must be rubbing their hands, as a bidding war between Newcastle and Milan is likely to maximize their profit. Maldini’s idea is to bring Botman on loan with an obligation to buy, which could sway Les Dogues to letting their prized possession move to St James’ Park instead.