Lille centre-back Sven Botman is expected to be the subject of plenty of bids in January, with both AC Milan and Newcastle both keen on the Dutchman.
Botman, a former Liverpool target, is highly rated across Europe and well loved at Lille, but given the French side’s financial struggles – and the fact they sit 11th in Ligue 1 – the feeling is that Botman is not untouchable.
The first update we had on Botman came from The Athletic, who revealed that Newcastle are keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old ahead of a potential January bid.
The Magpies are desperate to improve in defence after shipping 30 goals in their first 15 games of the season, and the new ambitious (and wealthy) owners are taking a look at Botman, who is expected to cost upwards of £40m.
Milan have just lost 32-year-old Simon Kjaer to a season-ending knee injury, leaving manager Stefano Pioli with just Fikayo Tomori, Alessio Romagnoli and young Matteo Gabbia as options at centre-back.
The plan had been to pursue a new defender at the end of the season, but Kjaer’s injury could accelerate plans and if Milan chiefs can find enough room in the budget to move for a big defender, they are prepared to make a bid in January.
Even if the funds can’t be found, Milan are ready to push for a loan move with an obligation to buy in the summer, although Lille will be reluctant to sell before the summer.
The French side have qualified for the Champions League last 16 and are on a quest to get back to the top four in Ligue 1, and Botman is obviously an integral part of their hopes of success.