Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie has voiced his fears for Dan Burn following the imminent arrival of Sven Botman at Newcastle United.
The Lowdown: Botman’s arrival
As per transfer expert Fabrizio Romano on Monday morning, the Lille defender will be in England today to undergo his medical ahead of signing for the Magpies.
This follows the arrival of Nick Pope at St James’ Park, who joined from Championship-bound Burnley in a deal worth £10m.
The Latest: Downie’s claim
Despite the Magpies having finally landed their top target at centre-back, Downie believes that it would be harsh on Burn to be dropped from the starting XI.
Speaking with GiveMeSport, he claimed: “I have to say, the arrival of Botman does call into question the involvement of Burn next season, because you would have to think Botman, if he does sign, he would be first choice in that back four.
“So, if that was the case, and he came in ahead of Burn, it would be pretty harsh on a guy who was terrific in the second half of the season, he really was impressive.”
The Verdict: More of a long-term choice
When comparing the two defenders’ underlying statistics, it would appear that Downie is justified in his claims.
When compared with positional peers across Europe over the past year, Burn ranks in the 98th percentile for aerial duels won, the 95th percentile for clearances and the 90th percentile for blocks (via FBRef).
Newcastle fans, who should start next season?
However, Botman only ranks in the 66th percentile for headers won, the 65th percentile for clearances and the 74th percentile for blocks (via FBRef).
Nonetheless, it would be unfair to fully compare the two, given that Botman is only 22 years old and has played just 62 times in Ligue 1. By contrast, 30-year-old Burn has played more than 300 games in English league football, 99 of those in the top flight.
The Dutchman is the Magpies’ long-term option at left centre-back, although the starting spot next season could definitely be up for grabs between two very capable defenders.
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