Manchester United are being heavily linked with a January move for a relatively unknown 22-year old Swedish Centre-Back called Victor Lindelof, who’s currently plying his trade in the top tier of Portuguese football with Benfica.
The reported transfer fee that Lindelof will fetch is a whopping £38 million, it might not be sky-scraping compared to the World Record breaking fee of £89 million they paid for Paul Pogba, however, it can be deemed as a lot for someone, who again, is relatively unknown.
The Swedish International started his career in the lower divisions of his home country, and made his breakthrough 5 years ago, in 2011, signing his first professional contract for Benfica, aged 17.
Due to 2 full calendar years where he was unfortunately plagued with niggling injuries, the Swede spent nearly 3 seasons in the reserves for the Portuguese outfit, before breaking into the starting 11 and cementing his position at the heart of the Benfica defence, playing an instrumental part in their capture of the Portuguese title last season.
His performances domestically earned him a call up to Sweden’s squad for their campaign at Euro 2016 in France. Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic & co endured a disappointing tournament, Lindelof did, however, start all 3 of his countries group matches after they went crashing out of the competition in the group stage.
Despite the underwhelming performance on French soil at the Euro’s last year, Lindelof has gone on to win a further 8 caps for his country since they disembarked, scoring his first international goal in a 3-0 win against Bulgaria last month. He has quickly established himself as one of the first names on the team sheet and is quickly edging towards the captaincy of Sweden, showing all the qualities of a good leader at such a tender age of 22.
Standing at a domineering height of 6 ft 2, Lindelof possesses the great stature of a traditional centre-back, however, his mobility and passing abilities have attracted some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and also earned him the name ‘The Iceman’ amongst the Benfica fans, due to his calmness and composure on the ball – something seldom seen from stocky centre backs.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, has apparently stationed 2 of his most trustworthy scouts in Portugal to monitor his progress and performances in the Primeira Liga – a league he knows well from his time at Porto, where he won the league twice and had a short stint in charge of Lindelof’s current side Benfica, where he managed 11 games, winning 6.
Sky Sports are today suggesting that fellow countryman and current Manchester United talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is also playing an instrumental role in luring Lindelof to Old Trafford and rumour has it that he is so far being successful, feeding back to Mourinho what Lindelof’s demands will be and what he will expect if he does come to the Premier League.
When asked, again by Sky Sports, on his opinion of Lindelof, Ibrahimovic was quoted as saying, ‘I think Victor is doing great things, he is playing good for Benfica, he gets a lot of responsibility for the national team now, he is growing.’
All in all I believe that Lindelof will be a hit if he does join United, his calm composure on the ball and leadership qualities is something that the Red Devils are crying out for in defence at the moment and he seems the sort of player who doesn’t need much adjustment time, making his debut for Sweden in the first competitive game of their Euro 2016 campaign. Whether £38 million is a big price to pay though is another story.