West Ham United have been linked with a move for Lille defender Sven Botman as manager David Moyes looks to bolster his first-team squad.
According to Sky Sports News, the Hammers are keen on securing the 21-year-old’s signature this summer, although they’re set to face stiff competition from several clubs, both at home and abroad.
The report states that Botman is the first-choice candidate of Atalanta to replace Tottenham Hotspur-bound Cristian Romero, while Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Norwich City and unnamed Bundesliga clubs are also credited with an interest.
Botman arrived at the Stade Pierre Mauroy last summer as Gabriel’s replacement following his £27 million transfer to Arsenal.
His purchase represented a gamble for Lille, with the Dutch Under-21 international having never played a senior game for boyhood club Ajax.
However, the youngster impressed during a season-long spell for Heerenveen throughout 2019/20 and formed a formidable partnership alongside veteran Jose Fonte at the heart of defence.
Botman’s magnificent performances saw him record 1.5 interceptions per league game last term, 3.2 clearances and 0.6 blocks, placing him in the top three amongst his teammates for each metric, as per WhoScored.
And the 6 ft 3 beast played a pivotal part as Lille shocked French football to secure the Ligue 1 title for the first time in 10 years, knocking the all-conquering Paris Saint-Germain off their perch.
Despite his magnificent displays, Sky Sports News claim they have been told that, should a team come in with a similar offer to the £27m Lille received for Gabriel, the club’s hierarchy would take it under consideration.
While the club’s business model is built around buying young, promising players for cheap prices before developing them and selling them for astronomical profit, the pandemic and collapse of the French football television deal has also enhanced Lille’s willingness to offload their prized assets this summer.
It remains to be seen whether West Ham follow up their interest in Botman with a concrete offer, but with the youngster being a left-footed, physically imposing centre-half with a title-winning season under his belt, Moyes would surely love to have him at the London Stadium as he looks to embark on a European campaign this season.
The Hammers are set to embark on a hectic schedule next season given their involvement in the Europa League, and Fabian Balbuena’s departure has left a sizeable gap in the capital club’s backline.
Botman would be a perfect replacement and major coup for the east London outfit, and the supporters will surely be urging GSB to get this deal over the line.
And, in other news…Sam Inkersole drops verdict on West Ham’s summer striker search