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Manchester United: Sven Botman now a primary target

In what looks to be a recurring theme in the transfer window for Manchester United, there has been a twist in the club’s chase for a left centre-back.

What’s the word?

That is according to a report from Gianluca Di Marzio, as per TEAMtalk, who claim that United are warming to a cheaper alternative to Pau Torres, with Sven Botman now eyed as a primary target.

As per the report, the lack of Champions League football this season at Old Trafford is forcing new boss Erik ten Hag to think carefully about splashing the cash.

The 52-year-old is said to want three “top quality” signings this summer, with a new defender, midfielder and striker reportedly on his summer wishlist.

Botman’s reported asking price of €25m (£21.3m) is seemingly one of the biggest factors in this change of heart.

Supporters will be buzzing

Whilst the latest news surrounding United represents a twist, it is worth noting that this change of target, considering his calibre, is not a drop off in quality.

Botman has proven himself as a trustworthy, ball-playing defender who would fit Ten Hag’s suggested system perfectly and thus, supporters will surely be delighted to see a link like this one.

Being a natural left-footer, like the aforementioned Torres, the 22-year-old offers a similar service for the former Ajax boss and interestingly, is ranked as a similar player to another one of Ten Hag’s former players in Matthijs de Ligt, as per FBref.

It’s worth noting that Botman also offers something that Torres does not – and that is prowess in the air. An attribute that is welcomed in England’s physical top flight. With 74.8% of his aerial duels won, he betters that of Maguire and also pips the Englishman in the majority of possession stats.

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With Maguire operating as a right-footed left centre-back, and Ten Hag preferring a left-footed centre-half, the signing of Botman could well see the 29-year-old’s game time suffer somewhat.

And with Botman offering up very similar stats to Torres, coupled with the fact that he’s been described as “exceptional” by Matt Spiro and a “beast“, he represents the most astute option for Ten Hag. His age and asking price appear to be perfect.

In other news: Ten Hag plotting shock MUFC swoop for “unbelievable” £70m maestro, he’s Fernandes 2.0