Three possible Thiago Silva replacements for Chelsea

Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan (Photo by Simone Arveda/Getty Images)
Milan Skriniar of Inter Milan (Photo by Simone Arveda/Getty Images) /
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Sven Botman of Lille prior to the Chelsea match (Photo by Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Sven Botman (Lille OSC) France

Botman might be what many call a Rolls-Royce defender. He holds his position and cleans up after everyone. He joined Lille at the beginning of the 2020/21 season. Since then he has made 62 league appearances, with only team captain Jose Fonte making more appearances (73). Lille missed Botman last season as he was out due to injury for 11 out of 38 games. This meant that Botman only made 25 appearances, compared to his previous season of 37. His absence saw Lille go without clean sheets almost every time he wasn’t on the pitch. In fact, Lille only recorded clean sheets twice out of 13 times he did play last season.

Botman averaged one interception per game and won 83% of his tackles, averaging one tackle completed per game. He made 0.9 blocks p90, only Fonte made more. He won 1.7 ground duels per game at a 65% success rate and won 2.3 aerial duels per game at a 66% success rate. Botman ranks in the 92nd percentile for aerials won per game and in the 84th percentile for the percentage of aerials won. This should not be a surprise considering that he is 1.95m (6 ft. 5), though he should be winning a higher proportion of his aerial duels. He kept eight clean sheets in the league.

Botman’s passing is equally as good as that of any ball-playing centerback in Europe. Botman would be no stranger to making plenty of passes per game as he led Lille in passes per game (53.4) at an 88% passing accuracy. Lille was not a possession-based team though, as they averaged 50.8% possession over 38 games. He makes 4.1 long balls per game at a 58% accuracy. His passing is superb. His long ball accuracy is on par with Virgil Van Dijk. Botman even ranks in the 96th percentile in clearances per game amongst Ligue 1 defenders. His ball progression is equally as good, as 5% of passes per game are progressive, with 6% of his carries being progressive.

There’s enough to show that the Frenchman would fit right in at Chelsea. His contract expires in 2025 so Lille still has some bargaining power. His nationality also means that he won’t be cheap.