Manchester United Transfer News: Victor Lindelof Scouted Ahead of January Window
Manchester United scouts were reportedly in attendance at Benficas 2-1 win over rivals Sporting Lisbon on Sunday to run the rule over Victor Lindelof.
Thats according to Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News, who noted the Red Devils have been following the progress of the Benfica defender keenly with a view to a potential January move. Lindelof is said to be considered a prime contender to stiffen up the United back four.
The Sweden international has enjoyed a remarkable 2016, establishing himself as one of the most exciting young defenders in European football. Heres a look at what he could bring to Old Trafford:
Although theres been a big upturn in performance levels from United as of late, the defensive setup of the team is something that remains a concern.
In recent weeks Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have formed an unlikely partnership at the core of the defence in the absence of Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling. Both players have endured tough times at United in recent years, particularly in terms of fitness and consistency, but theyve seized their chance under manager Jose Mourinho nonetheless.
As noted by sports journalist Liam Canning, theyre two of a group of players that seem to have improved under Mourinho:
Jones, Rojo, Mkhitaryan and Herrera all had blinders today. All under pressure at one stage – bounced back brilliantly. Fair play to them.
Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) December 11, 2016
However, its those problems with reliability that will likely prompt Mourinho to delve into the market for another defender. Lindelof is a player who could potentially offer a long-term solution in the position.
The 22-year-old has made rapid progress with the Lisbon club. The Swede has cemented his spot at the heart of the defence, turning in a string of commanding and composed performances. Indeed, Lindelofs ability to spot danger and distribute effectively would make him an ideal partner for Bailly, in theory entertainment news in the philippines at least.
United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who lined up alongside the defender for the Swedish national team, thinks Lindelof is ready to test himself at the highest level.
Is he good enough for United? I think hes good enough for the big clubs out there, said Ibrahimovic recently, per Luckhurst. Its up to him what he wants and what the situation says.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
It may be harsh on the likes of Rojo and Jones, but United need to be ruthless if theyre going to challenge for the top honours in the game again. Sport Witness Jan Hagen thinks Lindelof is a big upgrade on former Sporting man Rojo:
@iamvikrammufc Lindelf by far. I was no fan of Rojo. At all.
Jan Hagen (@PortuBall) December 6, 2016
Despite the speculation linking the young defender with a move away from Benfica, he won’t be forcing a move through, according to his agent.
There are many clubs interested in what Benfica are doing, but we are on very good terms with the president and we’ll decide Lindelof’s future together with the club, Hasan Cetinakaya told A Bola (h/t Jacob Murtagh of the Daily Mirror). There are many clubs interested in signing Lindelof, too, but he’s happy at Benfica at the moment and doesn’t want to leave.
For Benfica, losing the centre-back midseason would be a huge blow, especially as they continue to battle it out for titles domestically and in the UEFA Champions League. Given the fine form of Jones and Rojo, plus Baillys recent return to fitness, United may feel they dont have to go all out for a deal in January.