Manchester United are planning a summer swoop for Lille’s Netherlands international, Sven Botman.
That is according to Football Insider sources, who claim that United are willing to hijack AC Milan’s proposed deal in a bid to strengthen their own backline.
As per the report, Milan are in advanced talks to sign the defender in a reported deal of around £25m.
Though a United source has apparently revealed that the Red Devils are exploring a move for the 22-year-old, after incoming manager Erik ten Hag held a transfer summit with his new coaches in Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren, with United’s Director of Football, John Murtough, also present.
Botman’s name reportedly came up in those talks, and it was agreed that preliminary talks to sign the Ajax youth product would take place.
After progressing through the Ajax ranks, Botman’s rise to regular professional football was not as seamless as previous golden boy De Ligt.
Botman left Ajax without making a single appearance for the first team and after a season of senior football under his belt via a loan spell at Heerenveen, he made the move to Lille where he has developed into a “leader” and established himself as a high-quality and reliable centre-back, one known as a “beast“.
As a left-footed centre-back, he would slot right in at United, with Ten Hag preferring to use natural-footed central defenders in his backline.
In Ligue 1 this season, Botman is Lille’s third highest goalscorer with three goals, but it’s his ability on the ball and defensive competence that has seen him become a much sought after target amongst Europe’s elite.
With an average of 53.8 accurate passes per 90, he would rank second at United this season, just behind Nemanja Matic with an average of 58.9 and above Raphael Varane – his potential defensive partner – who boasts an average of 49.7 accurate passes per 90.
Though, Botman’s average of 4.6 clearances per 90 rank him first in the Lille squad and would do so in comparison to Manchester United’s squad also, with the closest competition being Varane, who registers an average of 3.8 clearances per 90. It’s also worth noting that both players surpass that of De Ligt’s average of 3.3 clearances per 90 with whom Botman is a ‘similar’ player according to FB Ref.
That just boosts Botman’s identity as a no-nonsense centre-back.