By Mark Weasley
Manchester United had the second best defensive record in the league last season after Tottenham, but manager, Jose Mourinho utilised several central defensive partnership pairing, something the Portuguese tactician is not famed for. The former Chelsea man is known to have a steady centre back pairing all over his years as a manager, and looks set to do that once more with the capture of Victor Lindelof.
The 22-year old Sweden international is gathering reputation as one of Europe’s finest defenders, and was extensively scouted by the Red Devils for more than a year before being signed last month.
It is a known fact that Mourinho always wins the league in his second season at every managerial post he has taken so far, and there is a growing feeling that the club feel it is high time United lift the trophy, after five years of being encumbered with failure with the appointments of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
In Lindelof, they have a player capable of playing for the better part of the next decade. Ivory Coast international, Eric Bailly impressed hugely in his first season in English football, but struggled for consistency due to injuries and being away for the Cup of Nations in January. In Lindelof, United can boast of defenders with heart, passion and class to stifle any attacking threat.
Tottenham do have the Vertonghen-Alderweireld axis, which is perhaps the best right now, but Bailly and Lindelof have something the Belgian pair do not have: age and massive potential.
Chelsea have just let John Terry go, which means that the other defenders won’t have that leadership and presence to keep guiding them. The likes of Cahill and Luiz are good, but with both players on the wrong side of 30, the end is near for them. Few Manchester United fans will have forgotten the Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic partnership, as both players epitomised the brain and brawn, beauty and the beast, stopper and cover defensive variant that is needed at every club.
Jose Mourinho is on a mission, and with the acquisition of Lindelof, it has elevated the backline to another level that was missing last season. Jose will want that second season, title-winning form to come to play next season, and in Bailly and Lindelof, he has the base to make it happen, and what better way than to take it from the grips of Chelsea.