Man United transfer gossip: Red Devils eye defender compared to Virgil van Dijk

Manchester United target Sven Botman in action for Lille amid speculation over his future

According to Sky SportsManchester United are keen on Lille centre-back Sven Botman.

What’s the latest transfer news involving Sven Botman? 

Sky Sports have reported that signing a central defender to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of United’s defence is a priority this summer, with Lille’s Botman on a list of potential options.

The report suggests that the club can now focus on reinforcing their defensive ranks after extending the contract of Edinson Cavani, who will remain at the club until 2022.

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Are any other Premier League clubs interested?

According to Fabrizio Romano, speaking exclusively to GIVEMESPORT, Liverpool have an interest in the centre-back.

“For sure, Kabak has been scouted, also Botman,” said the Italian journalist in January.

“About Botman, we heard a lot of talks about possible medicals and something but it’s absolutely not true at the moment. For sure, Liverpool appreciate the player but they have not done anything with the manager, the player, the agent or with the club, Lille in this case.”

Who has Sven Botman been compared to?

WhoScored have touted Botman as “the next Van Dijk” which is high praise to say the least.

The report said that Botman and Virgil van Dijk “share similar characteristics” and that their abilities in the air are comparable statistically.

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As of mid-February, Botman had an aerial success rate of 71.7% in Ligue 1. In comparison, the Dutchman recorded a 75.2% aerial success rate in Liverpool’s title winning 2019/20 Premier League campaign.

However, his passing could require improving as his 85.7% pass success rate ranked only 71st in Ligue 1, which could be a concern to any potential suitors. 

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Would Botman make a good partner for Harry Maguire?

Whilst Botman is evidently a good player, he plays on the left side of central defence for Lille, which is where Maguire plays for United. If a partnership were to come to fruition one of the pair would have to alter their role in the starting eleven, which could prove complicated.

Maguire would most likely be the player to shift to the other side of defence as Botman is naturally left footed and would therefore be a more balanced fit on that side of the defensive line, especially when United are in possession. 

Shifting Maguire to the right centre-back role wouldn’t be the end of the world, however whether it is wise to tinker with the only clearly outstanding centre-back already at Old Trafford remains a matter of debate.

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