The season has not even ended yet but it would appear that the transfer merry-go-round is already cranking into gear, especially in the centre-back department.
Manchester United are reportedly in the market for a partner for Harry Maguire, or at least reinforcements to bolster a roster that has lost Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo this season, with Phil Jones likely to follow.
The list of names linked to the Red Devils is growing and includes Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, Villareal’s Paul Torres, Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly, Lille’s Sven Botman, Fiorentina’s Nikola Milenkovic and Atalanta’s Cristian Romero.
Botman is emerging as a dark horse. The 21-year-old has only been at Lille for one season following a meagre £7 million move from Ajax last summer but has been instrumental in a season that has led the underdogs to within one game of clinching the French League title.
‘Lille have conceded only 22 league goals so far in 2020-21 and such resilience owes much to a rearguard that features one of the game’s most talked-about young centre-backs, Sven Botman,’ reports The Athletic.
‘Botman has appeared in 45 of Lille’s 47 matches in all competitions and is already the subject of persistent speculation around whether he could move on again in the upcoming transfer window.
‘It is all the more remarkable given that he left Ajax without having made his senior debut for the Amsterdam giants.’
The Dutchman is clearly excited by the links with the Premier League.
‘I’m lying if I say it’s not interesting me — it’s the first time such big clubs are linked to me.
‘After the season, I will enjoy a vacation and see what happens next.
‘If I’m honest, the Premier League is one of the leagues I dreamed about… but also Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga. The Premier League is something special. It’s the football I really like and that fits me. The style of play, the emotion; I really like to see the fans with such big emotions in the stands. It is a beautiful competition I really like to watch, and did for pretty much all my life.
‘Of course I want to achieve as much as possible. I hope to make a big, beautiful step for me. We’ll have to see in the future if that is possible or not.’
Ironically – and this is where the merry-go-round comes in – another team linked with a move for Botman is Atalanta, who believe they will need to replace Cristian Romero, another player linked with United.
‘Freelance journalist Ignazio Genuardi reports that alongside Premier League outfit Manchester United, Serie A outfit Atalanta have an intense interest in 21-year-old Dutch central defender Sven Botman,’ reports Getfootballnewsfrance.com.
‘Botman, who joined from Ajax last summer for €10m, is someone that Atalanta are looking very seriously at, with the possibility of losing Cristian Romero this summer being very realistic.’
It was Sky Sports that recently broke the story that United are interested in Romero. He is currently a Juventus player but Atalanta have a buy option in the loan deal and could trigger that before immediately selling him on for a healthy profit.
As if all this wasn’t confusing enough, a second love triangle involving the Red Devils has also emerged involving Kalidou Koulibaly and Pau Torres, click here for our latest report.