Sven Botman: Why Ligue 1’s signing of the season wanted by Liverpool
In just his second season of first-team football, the former Ajax defender has a strong case to be considered the signing of the summer in France – if not Europe.
Botman was captured by Lille for just £7.2 million (€8m). Liverpool, meanwhile, are likely to have to pay more than three times that figure – probably around £22.5m – if they want to sign the 21-year-old immediately.
So how does he stack up compared to his peers and those already at Liverpool?
How good is Sven Botman?
For those who have watched Botman regularly this season, this will come as little surprise. Of course, Liverpool are in a state of jeopardy with Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk out, allowing Lille to drive up the price, but the former Ajax player has attained such a value from his own merit, too.
In 27 games this season, he has posted some formidable defensive stats. He has not made a single error leading to a chance, while he averages just 0.3 fouls a game. He is fouled three times more himself.
Remarkably for one so young, Botman’s strengths lie in his game intelligence. His positioning is particularly impressive, while Liverpool will have been especially taken by his qualities while operating in a high press.
|STYLE||Ball playing defender|
“We knew he was a man good in the duels, strong in the air and on the ground, but also good at bringing the ball out,” Lille boss Christophe Galtier explained in December. “He’s direct and commanded by Jose Fonte, who is very experienced.
“Do I remember having had a player so good so young? I had Kurt Zouma, who played in Ligue 1 at the age of 17 with Saint-Etienne. I hope Sven can have the same career as Kurt.”
His range of passing is excellent, with his ability to pick out team-mates and set up counterattacks with long balls forward reminiscent of Van Dijk.
Physically, he stands marginally taller than his compatriot and Gomez, and in terms of his positioning he is a pure centre-back.
It is worth noting, however, that Botman is left footed.
Will Liverpool sign Botman?
When Lille were subject to a takeover in the winter, there was a fear that they would be forced into a fire sale. These concerns, however, have been allayed, making it complicated for Liverpool to complete a deal in January.
Lille have already offloaded Adama Soumaoro during the January transfer window to Bologna, and he would have been the obvious replacement in the heart of their defence.
FootballTransfers can confirm there was interest from Liverpool in Botman earlier in the month, and had it been acted upon then, it might have been an easier transaction to complete with Lille.