It’s no secret that Liverpool have a sparsity of options in central defence.
The reigning Premier League champions have faced something of an injury crisis in their backline for the majority of the 2020/21 campaign.
Virgil van Dijk’s long-term absence, which looks set to rule him out for almost the entirety of the season, has left a gaping gap at the heart of the defensive unit, while Joe Gomez is also expected to be out for most of 2020/21.
The injury-prone Joel Matip, meanwhile, has both been in and out of the side due to his own fitness issues.
Given the January window is now open for business and Liverpool’s plight with defensive injuries, it’s only natural that speculation over the arrival of a new centre back is beginning to intensify.
The Reds have been linked with a move for Lille’s Sven Botman in recent weeks following his impressive opening to life in Ligue 1 with Lille, but a recent report from Sunday World suggests they’re not going to have it all their own way in this pursuit.
Indeed, Liverpool’s long-standing Premier League rivals and title chasers Manchester United have joined the race for the 20-year-old’s signature.
The report claims that Botman could now be sold for four times the €8m (£7.1m) fee Lille paid Ajax for his signature in the summer – equating to £28.4m – and also namechecks Brighton & Hove Albion star Ben White as another player on Liverpool’s watchlist.
Senior figures at the club are aiming to target a promising youngster – rather than an experienced defender – who can be the long-term successor to Matip.
GIVEMESPORT’s Jack Saville says…
Michael Edwards, Jurgen Klopp and the rest of Liverpool’s head honchos are taking the right stance by aiming for youth over experience.
Though Botman is incredibly young at 20 years of age, his form this season speaks for itself.
The Dutch defender has been an ever-present at the heart of Lille’s defence, and his performances have been instrumental in the Ligue 1 outfit’s climb into 2nd place.
Only Paris Saint-Germain (10) have conceded less goals than Lille (12), with Botman averaging 1.2 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2.9 clearances per game, per WhoScored.
Of all the centre-backs who have played more than 270 minutes of Ligue 1 football this season, only three players boast a superior WhoScored rating than Botman’s 7.13.
Standing at 6ft 5in tall, the former Ajax youth prospect possesses a level of physical dominance that will hold him in good stead to meet the demands of the Premier League should he eventually make the switch.
All the signs are there to suggest that Liverpool have set their eyes on a potential gem, but can they convince him to move to Merseyside over Manchester?