Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd make late play to thwart Milan, Newcastle in Sven Botman battle due to key Ten Hag criterion

Sven Botman captaining the Netherlands under-21s

Manchester United, rather than Newcastle, could pose the main threat to AC Milan in their pursuit of Lille defender Sven Botman, according to a report.

Botman was a target for Newcastle in the January transfer window as their new owners tried to fund a deal for a centre-back. Ultimately, they signed Dan Burn, who has done well. However, links with the Lille man as a potential partner have continued.

Despite this, the frontrunners in the race to sign Botman are AC Milan. The Serie A leaders want to add him to their defence for next season and have been making progress on a deal.

But now, according to Football Insider, that is under threat due to newly established interest from Manchester United.

The online outlet claims Botman has been discussed as a potential Man Utd target by incoming manager Erik ten Hag, his assistant Mitchell van der Gaag, ex-Red Devils coach Steve McClaren and current football director John Murtough.

Finding a new centre-back appears to be a priority for Man Utd after a season of scrutiny for captain Harry Maguire. What’s more, the likes of Eric Bailly may prefer to leave the club.

According to the report, Ten Hag would specifically like a left-footed centre-back as a reinforcement. Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Bailly and Phil Jones are all right-footed.

Therefore, finding someone who prefers their left-hand side would address the balance at the back. In that regard, Botman fits the bill.

Furthermore, at the age of 22 but already a Ligue 1 title winner from last season, he has the foundations for a very successful career.

Sven Botman close to 5 year deal with AC Milan snubbing Tottenham and Newcastle

Sven Botman is close to agreeing a 5 year deal with AC Milan this summer ignoring interest from Premier League clubs

Botman was in the Ajax youth ranks between 2009 and 2020, but never made a senior debut under Ten Hag. Instead, he forged his career with their reserve team and a loan spell at Heerenveen before joining Lille in 2020.

It was a move that had an instant impact for Botman; he played in 37 of their 38 games of a Ligue 1-winning season in his debut campaign.

After 24 league outings this term, the Dutchman could be ready for the next step. In doing so, a reunion with Ten Hag may be an option.

Incoming Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag

What may work against United is the fact they will be without Champions League football next season. Milan, in contrast, have qualified for Europe’s most prestigious tournament. They will hope to go into it having attained Serie A honours, too.

United may be playing catch-up in this transfer pursuit but it is far from over.

Botman a sensible suggestion for Man Utd

It makes sense for Ten Hag to want a left-footed centre-back to provide balance to his backline. That area of the squad has been in the spotlight this season.

It is likely that Varane will remain a starter next season, but who his partner will be is up for question.

Botman has built up a positive reputation over the past couple of years. Therefore, he could be a wise investment for Man Utd to make.

He might not be the cheapest option on the market – costing around £25million – but it is likely his value is only going to grow in the coming years. This summer may be the best time to make a move.

What’s more, it seems sensible for Ten Hag to target players with a Dutch connection to ease his transition into the Premier League.

Botman will have much to weigh up, though. United will have to be convincing in their proposals.

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