‘Fake news!’ – Botman agent rejects claims of Premier League deal following Liverpool links to Lille defender

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The centre-half has shone in Ligue 1 this season, but his representative says his future has not been decided

The agent of Lille centre-back Sven Botman has denied that the club have reached an agreement to sell him.

Reports emanating from Canal+ in France had suggested that a big European club had agreed to buy the 21-year-old in the summer, with a fee in the region of €45 million (£39m/$55m) suggested.

The names of no clubs had been put forward in the report, although it was later indicated that the deal had been struck with a Premier League team.

What did Botman’s agent say?

Speaking to Voetbalzone, Nikkie Bruinenberg, the agent of Botman, simply dismissed the report as “fake news”, indicating that no such agreement has been struck.

Botman is under contract with Lille until 2025, having only joined the club last summer as a replacement for Gabriel, who was transferred to Arsenal.

With Lille, he has developed rapidly into an important first-team player and has regularly partnered Jose Fonte at the heart of the defence. Indeed, in 30 matches for LOSC this season, he has not committed an error that has led to a chance, let alone a goal. Such consistency and reliability has led him to be regarded as one of the best central defenders in Ligue 1.

Having been signed for only €8m from Ajax, where he failed to earn a first-team appearance, the Ligue 1 leaders are set to benefit from a massive windfall on the centre-back if and when he is sold.

Who could sign Botman?

Premier League clubs were thought to be circling for the defender during the January transfer window. With Liverpool crippled in the heart of their rearguard by long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, they were regularly linked to the Lille player.

Manchester United, too, have been associated with Botman. The Old Trafford side have long had problems finding a reliable centre-back combination and it is thought that they are likely suitors for the young Dutchman, who has been capped as high as Under-20 level.

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