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.
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.
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.
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.