Sven Botman is emerging as a player who could be on the move this summer, with a number of top clubs linked.
The Mirror report Manchester United have sent scouts to watch Botman in action.
So who is Botman and what could he potentially bring to Manchester United?
1) Sven Botman is a left-footed centre-back who plays for Lille. He turned 21 in January.
2) Botman hails from the Netherlands and has played three times at under-21 level, keeping clean sheets in all of the games. He was called into the senior squad in November although has not yet made his debut.
3) WhoScored.com report no centre-back in Europe’s top five leagues has kept more clean sheets than Botman this season (13). Lille have conceded only 15 goals this season, and they currently sit first in Ligue 1.
4) Botman averages 3.6 aerial duels won per game. This ranks third highest in Ligue 1, and is superior to Victor Lindelof’s 2.6.
5) Botman came through the Ajax academy, but did not play a first team game. He had a season on loan at Heerenveen before being sold to Lille for just £7.8 million last summer as a replacement for Gabriel Maghalaes.
What they say…
Lille boss Christophe Galtier says he is one of the best centre-backs he has ever worked with. He told Ligue 1: “I had Kurt Zouma who was playing there for Saint-Etienne before he turned 17. I hope Sven can go on to have a career like Kurt.”
Botman was scouted by now former Lille sporting director Luis Campos, who left the club last year. He speaks very highly of him.
Campos told the Transfer Window Podcast: “Sven Botman is perhaps the biggest revelation of this first phase of the biggest five leagues. Very few deduced that he could play at this level, I think he will still evolve more.”
Botman plays alongside former Southampton defender Jose Fonte, who regards him highly.
Fonte told Talksport: “He is a top player. I must say I was surprised when he first arrived. I wasn’t expecting this level of quality, I was expecting a youngster with potential, but the guy is very composed; he’s mature for his age.
“He’s a defender, and by that I mean he likes to defend; he likes to play simple, he’s strong, he’s tall, he wins his duels, he doesn’t overcomplicate the game, he’s good on the ball, left-footed.”
How much would he cost?
Botman’s price tag has rocketed over the past few months. Liverpool are among the clubs said by The Mirror to be keen.
Lille managed to get £23 million for Gabriel last summer from Arsenal and they could get more than this for Botman if his strong season continues.
If United are involved, expect his price tag to reach somewhere between £30-40 million.
This might make him a reasonable alternative to Jules Kounde, who would cost double the price. It would leave funds available to spend it other areas.
Botman ticks a few boxes for United. He is young, he is left-footed, and he is strong in the air. The club don’t have a left-footed centre-back after selling Marcos Rojo and last summer it was suggested by The Telegraph United want to add one to give the defence more balance.
There are many options United could move in this summer regarding a centre-back. Botman is an interesting option, and one to keep an eye on.
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