Liverpool want Lille defender Sven Botman, according to reports. Here’s the low-down on a very promising 20-year-old defender.
French outlet Foot Mercato claims Liverpool like the look of Sven Botman. The publication believes the Reds contacted Botman’s representatives during November.
While originally open to a deal at £45m, Lille’s financial troubles could drop the price all the way down to £27m.
So that’s the low-down on the report – but who exactly is Botman?
Botman is a 20-year-old Dutch centre-half – another product of the Ajax academy system. He never actually played for the Eredivisie giants, however.
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Instead, Botman broke into senior football on-loan with Heerenveen last season. A decent campaign alerted Lille, who signed him permanently for around £7m ahead of this season.
Compare that figure to the £27m he’s now reportedly worth, and you get an idea of how well he’s doing.
So let’s have a look at just how Botman is playing at Lille. It’s worth saying from the off that Lille are having a season beyond all expectations.
Despite financial struggles and losing Victor Osimhen in the summer, Lille sit at the top of Ligue 1. They’ve built a very interesting side, in fact, including reported Liverpool target Jonathan David.
Botman is thriving among all of that, then.
The Dutchman averages 1.3 tackles per game with Lille, which would be good enough for 4th-best at Liverpool. Interceptions are a strong-suit, too – his 1.9 per game would be the best at Anfield, and is 3rd-best at Lille.
On top of that, Botman can pass. His 68 passes per-game is the best at Lille. It’s worth noting that Liverpool pass far more than the French side, meaning that figure would be ninth at Anfield.
Still, it’s evidence that there’s great potential there. For instance, only Renato Sanches at Lille completes more long-balls per game as an outfield player.
His figures would have Botman 6th for that at Liverpool – but again, the Reds play far more as a team.
So now on to Botman’s best attribute: his dominance in the air. At 6ft4, the 20-year-old leads Lille by winning 3.9 headers per game. That’s good enough for sixth in Ligue 1 for players who have started at least three games.
For a team top of the league and under less defensive pressure, that’s a great statistic. No one at Liverpool can match that, for instance.
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On the face of it, this would all make sense. Botman can provide aerial strength – something Liverpool have with Virgil van Dijk – and is also a solid passer.
Both are, effectively, the key attributes Liverpool want long-term as they plan for a post-Van Dijk team.
The fact that Botman looks so good on paper at just 20, then, is a hugely positive sign. The fee is the only sticking point – £27m is a lot for a player with 18 months of experience.
But if Liverpool feel confident, there’s a lot here to be excited about. He’s already shown he can adapt to life in a new country and eases into new clubs, too.
There’s enormous room for growth and the financial situation at Lille opens the door for a bargain. Certainly one to keep an eye on.