| 4.2°C Dublin

TRANSFER PUSH Liverpool could face competition as they weigh up an offer for Lille's Sven Botman


Lille's Sven Botman battles for the ball with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham. Photo: AP

Lille's Sven Botman battles for the ball with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham. Photo: AP


Lille's Sven Botman battles for the ball with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham. Photo: AP

Liverpool could face competition from Manchester United as the race to sign Lille's highly-rated centre-back Sven Botman reaches boiling point.

The 20-year-old Dutch defender has emerged as one of the most wanted defenders in Europe after catching the eye in the French league after his move to Ajax last summer.

While sources close to Botman have indicated Liverpool have expressed an interest in signing him this month, United now look set to join the race for a player who has been compared to Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.

Botman moved to Lille for just €8m and he could now we sold for four times that amount, with some of Europe's top clubs eyeing up moves.

"Liverpool have to sign a defender in this transfer window or I fear they won't have enough to hang on to the Premier League title," states Liverpool great John Aldridge.

"It won't be easy to find the right play in January, but they have no choice other than to try."

We understand that Liverpool are 'actively pursuing' a host of targets as they look to end solve their defensive crisis in this month's transfer window.

Club insiders have claimed they do not expect to make any major signings this month, but several prominent agents are aware of interest in their players, with Botman and Brighton's Ben White among those on the Liverpool watchlist.

Klopp and the club's transfer committee have opted to target youthful performers who rather than experienced defenders, with an eye on the new arrival being groomed as a successor to the injury-prone Joel Matip.

Meanwhile, Holland coach Frank de Boer has revealed he is hopeful of having Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk available to him for next summer's European Championship finals.

De Boer had a FaceTime chat with Van Dijk earlier this week and after a positive update from centre-back, the Dutch giant could return to action sooner than expected after he suffered knee ligament damage in October.

Read exclusive columns from Ireland legends John Aldridge and Paul McGrath in this weekend's Sunday World.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors