Liverpool are being regularly linked with a move for Lille centre-back Sven Botman now that the January transfer window has opened and the former Ajax man could be the perfect addition to Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
According to Duncan Castles on the Transfer Window Podcast (via Express), Liverpool are in talks with the 20-year-old’s agent and could make a transfer bid this month.
Klopp is currently without a senior centre-back in his first-team squad, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all currently sidelined due to injury.
Fabinho has done a superb job filling in there, whilst youngsters Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams, who Klopp labelled as “exceptional” back in November, have also performed admirably. However, the fact that Manchester United are now level on points with the Reds at the top of the Premier League emphasises that the Merseyside club must improve their defence in January, as sticking with their current inexperienced backline for the rest of the season seems like a disaster waiting to happen.
Fortunately, they look to have identified a quality replacement in Botman, who has enjoyed a superb start to the season with Lille, having averaged a superb 7.13 rating across his 17 appearances in the French top-flight.
Castles was certainly full of praise for the young defender during the podcast, saying:
“He’s tall and quick and I think this is one of the things that factors into Liverpool’s assessment, he’s incredibly strong one-on-one.
“In one statistical analysis, he’s the best one-on-one duels in the big five leagues across Europe this season.”
The journalist also suggested that the Dutchman would be a huge improvement on Williams and Phillips at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, saying:
“From what I’ve seen of those two centre-backs [Williams and Phillips], I would think he’s significantly better.”
Whilst this might seem harsh, considering Phillips has averaged a 7.19 rating for his performances in the Premier League, whilst Williams’ one league start against Tottenham Hotspur earned him a 6.91 rating, Botman is certainly highly rated and would perhaps be a better long-term option than either of the young Liverpool centre-backs.
Transfermarkt currently values the 20-year-old at £9 million, perhaps as he only joined Les Dogues in the summer for €9 million (£8 million), which suggests that Michael Edwards wouldn’t have to pay over the odds to bring him to Anfield this month and he must therefore do everything he can to sign him.
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