Credit: LOSC / Twitter
Who is Sven Botman?
Sven Botman is 20 years old and currently plays for Lille in France. He is a graduate of the esteemed Ajax youth academy.
He started his footballing journey at the age of nine at Ajax, where he remained until he moved on loan to Heerenveen in the 2019/2020 season. An impressive loan spell led to interest from elsewhere and in the summer of 2020 he made the switch to Lille.
Remarkably, he never made a senior appearance for Ajax and his 30 appearances for Heerenveen were his first appearances in competitive football, before the season was ended due to COVID-19.
Interest in him followed and a move to Ligue 1 Lille materialised for a fee of approximately £9 million. Since swapping the Netherlands for France, Botman has played each of Lille’s 23 games so far this season partnering club captain and former Southampton centre-back Jose Fonte. Together they have formed a formidable partnership as part of Ligue 1’s second-best defence that has seen Lille have a strong start to the season. They currently sit second in Ligue 1 after 17 games.
A view from the Netherlands
Dutch football expert James Rowe has been impressed by Botman for a long time and believes he is ready for the Premier League. “I have championed him for a while even before he made his move to France after his impressive loan spell at SC Heerenveen last season. He would absolutely strengthen Liverpool. Botman is already a great defender. Particular strengths are his aerial ability & physicality which are well suited to the premier league.”
How does Botman compare to Liverpool’s other central defenders?
Disclaimer: I haven’t compared Botman to Virgil Van Dijk as this would be an unfair comparison for most defenders in world football. I have compared Botman with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for the single reason that if does sign for Liverpool, the aim will be for him to partner Van Dijk in the years ahead.
Joe Gomez vs Sven Botman
Both players have a strong pass completion rate. Arguably, Gomez is slightly more comfortable on the ball than Botman as his number of dribbles and long passes show. However, the physical attributes of Botman such as aerial duels, tackles and interceptions are an improvement on those of Gomez.
Of course, no two players are the same but Botman would offer something different to Gomez as shown above.
Joel Matip vs Sven Botman
A very close comparison. Both players have very similar attributes with Botman edging Matip’s ability in the air. Crucially, he is also nine years younger than Matip and his faster than his more experienced counterpart and at this stage of his career less prone to injury.