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    ‘I’m lying if I say it’s not interesting’ – Botman flattered by Liverpool links as Lille star admits the Premier League ‘is something special’

    The Dutchman says he will make a final decision on his future at the end of the season amid rumours the Reds are poised to swoop for his services

    Lille star Sven Botman has admitted he’s flattered by rumours linking him with Liverpool and says that the Premier League is “something special”.

    Botman is attracting plenty of attention from top clubs heading towards the summer transfer window, having played a key role in Lille’s tilt at the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21.

    Liverpool reportedly tried to sign the 21-year-old in January amid a defensive injury crisis, and have been tipped to reignite their interest when the market reopens, with the Dutchman keeping his options open despite still having four years let to run on his current contract.

    What’s been said?

    “It is a good compliment when you hear these clubs are interested,” Botman told The Athletic when quizzed on the Liverpool rumours.

    “I’m lying if I say it’s not interesting me — it’s the first time such big clubs are linked to me — but it was early days because in January I was only at Lille for half a season. It was nice to hear but I was focusing on Lille and I’m still doing this.

    “After the season I will enjoy a vacation and see what happens next. If I’m honest, the Premier League is one of the leagues I dreamed about… but also Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga.

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    “The Premier League is something special. It’s the football I really like and that fits me. The style of play, the emotion; I really like to see the fans with such big emotions in the stands.

    “It is a beautiful competition I really like to watch and did for pretty much all my life.”

    The Lille centre-back added on the possibility of leaving Stade Pierre Mauroy this summer: “I’m not the kind of guy who is already planning for the future. How it’s going with me now, I hope to someday make a good step to a top competition or a big club; that’s my goal.

    “But I’m good at the moment with Lille. I’m really enjoying this year, I’m enjoying playing a lot. I learn a lot and I still have to improve a lot. I’m not complaining about my situation right now, I’m happy at the moment.

    “For my ambitions, yes, of course I want to achieve as much as possible. I hope to make a big, beautiful step for me. We’ll have to see in the future if that is possible or not.”

    Botman’s record at Lille

    Lille snapped Botman up from Eredivisie giants Ajax for just €9 million in July 2020, and he made his debut in a Ligue 1 clash against Rennes a month later.

    The Netherlands international has since racked up 45 appearances across all competitions for Christophe Galtier’s side, who will be crowned champions of France if they pick up four points from their final two league fixtures against Saint Etienne and Angers.

    The bigger picture

    Liverpool ended up signing Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke and Ben Davies on a permanent deal from Preston North End in the winter transfer window as Jurgen Klopp sought to plug the gaps at the back caused by the injury-enforced absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

    However, Davies has yet to feature for the Reds senior team and Kabak’s future is uncertain, with the Merseyside outfit reportedly set to pass up the option to sign him outright for £18m ($25m).

    Botman could, therefore, emerge as a target for Liverpool once again later in the year, especially if Van Dijk’s recovery from knee surgery runs through to the start of the 2021-22 season, with Gomez and Joel Matip also still on the treatment table.

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