Dutch centre-back Sven Botman has explained his decision to sign for Newcastle United over European giants Milan.
The Magpies confirmed they have reached a deal in principle to sign the 22-year-old from Lille on Monday, with the announcement coming alongside an image of the defender holding up a Newcastle shirt at St. James' Park.
A £40m bid was accepted by Lille, and Botman agreeing personal terms on a five-year contract before successfully passing a medical. There are now mere formalities to be completed before the Netherlands international becomes a Newcastle player.
Although the centre-back has been a target for the Tynesiders since their Saudi-backed takeover last year, things could have been very different as Serie A champions Milan had been close to signing him before talks broke down.
Asked about his decision to eventually choose Newcastle by De Telegraaf, Botman said: "In the end, the beautiful project of Newcastle United in combination with playing in the Premier League was decisive.
“The latter has actually been a dream my whole life. AC Milan also gave me a good feeling, but Newcastle United felt just a little better in the end."
Botman was also asked about the hefty fee the Magpies are set to pay for him - the highest figure ever paid for a defender by a club outside of the so-called big six. The defender had joined Lille from Ajax for just €9m in 2020.
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"This is how the football world has developed and how the transfer market works at the moment," Botman continued.
“I can't help that. And hopefully I'm still that sober boy from Badhoevedorp. That €40million does indicate how much Newcastle United wanted me.
"That gives me confidence and now it's up to me to repay that."