Manchester United had the second best defensive record in the league last season after Tottenham, but it would seem that the manager, Jose Mourinho is ready to take the defence to the next level with the signing of Victor Lindelof from Benfica.
The Sweden international, 22, has been tracked by the Red Devils in the past year, and is set to form a mouth-watering partnership with Eric Bailly, who impressed in his first season in English football. Lindelof at £31m is United’s most expensive defender ever, meaning that he is sure to start, given the manner in which the club tried to sign him at all cost.
United currently boast of five centre-backs at the moment. Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are the quintet at the moment and the arrival of Lindelof will take that number to six, meaning some players will have to leave the club to lessen the wage bill.
Rojo is a trusted lieutenant of Mourinho, which means despite his injury, is still expected to be part of the squad for next season. Phil Jones is a no nonsense old school defender who Mourinho prefers when things come to push and shove. Daley Blind is seen as a left back, who is most likely to have increased playing time next season, as Luke Shaw is expected to leave the club in the summer transfer window. That means that the odd man out is Chris Smalling.
England centre back, Smalling is into his seventh year at Old Trafford, yet is the likely to be sold. He was criticised by his manager earlier in the season for not wanting to play through the pain barrier. He is not highly rated by the manager, who likes his defenders showing composure and leadership at the back, Smalling sadly offers none of those qualities, and with the World Cup approaching, it is imperative that he leaves the club so as not to miss out on the English party to next year’s mundial.