It appears that Portuguese side Benfica will soon be seeing another huge injection of cash this January, if the multitude of reports suggesting that Victor Lindelof is off to Manchester United are anything to go by. The deal to bring the 22-year old Swedish international to Old Trafford is reported (as reported in English by the Metro) to be worth as much as £42m, with Lindelof earning himself a substantial pay rise in the process. The Swede played what could be his last game for Benfica on Wednesday night as the home side beat Rio Ave 2-0 and maintained their four-point lead atop of the Primeira Liga.
Lindelof’s age suggests that he’s more a player for the future, and one to be developed as opposed to a young man ready to instantly become a vital cog in Jose Mourinho’s United side, but his flexibility to play both at centre-back and right-back could be of great use to the Portuguese if he completes the move next month. Judging by this report, Mourinho still harbours doubts about his options at centre-back, for a start; Eric Bailly, who has impressed since a summer move from Villareal will be absent for at least a month when Ivory Coast begin their African Cup of Nations campaign in January, and the former-Chelsea boss is obviously yet to be convinced by Chris Smalling’s suitability for a starting role in his side. On the plus side, Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones have been in fine form at the heart of United’s defence in the last few weeks, making this less of an emergency buy and more about Mourinho providing himself with other defensive options.
Lindelof could slot in any number of ways. If a deal is concluded this January, he could be involved in a number of United’s games in the early part of 2017. Given that he’s right-footed, he could easily line up against left-footed Rojo in the heart of United’s defence, with Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian potentially on either side as Mourinho’s current preferences at full-back.
Should United’s manager wish to rest Valencia, Lindelof could easily slot in at right-back, with Jones and Rojo occupying central defence with Darmian again on the left. The Swede’s flexibility gives Mourinho the chance to tweak his defence regularly whilst still keeping it strong, which could come in particularly handy should United suffer any injuries and given their upcoming fixtures. His team will play at least 12 games in January and February, and bringing in Lindelof should help ease the workload on the players that he’s trusted the most so far this season.