Manchester United are stepping up the chase for 22 year old Benfica right back, Victor Lindelof. This is according to Portuguese media outlet, A Bola, via Goal. The newspaper believes Jose Mourinho has identified the Sweden international as a potential replacement for Matteo Darmian, who many believe is not highly rated by the Portuguese tactical maestro.
Darmian has struggled for form and fitness under Mourinho, and could be moved on in January to free up space for the highly-rated Lindelof. Manchester United’s defence has not been up to the standard that Mourinho normally craves in his teams, and he believes Lindelof is the perfect fit, as he can also play at centre back.
Manchester United are among a host of clubs interested in the player. In the last transfer window, Chelsea were reportedly close to his signature, but pulled out of the deal as they couldn’t agree a fee with Benfica. Liverpool, Juventus and PSG are also interested in his services, and are reportedly monitoring his development at the Estadio da Luz. He has a release clause of £26m, and if this fee is matched by any club, Benfica have to accept and give the player permission to discuss personal terms.
Lindelof joined Benfica in the summer of 2012 as a teenager, after spells in his homeland with the likes of IK Franke and Vasteras SK as a junior. This season, he has played 14 matches across all competitions for club, displaying maturity on the pitch of play that belies his tender years. Lindelof is a ball playing right-back cum centre-back that is good in aerial duels, is a tough tackler and has an impeccable reading of the game.
If Manchester United do manage to get their man, he will offer Mourinho options in defence. And, at 22, he offers the best part of 10 years at the very top. A summer move is more likely by the transfer gurus at United, though it is not yet ascertained whether Lindelof would be willing to move to England at this time. He may be looking to still develop more in Portugal in familiar surroundings.