Manchester United have reportedly signed SL Benfica centre-back Victor Lindelof and it might just be the statement of intent from Jose Mourinho for all that is to follow from here on. The deal is set to cost the Red Devils a hefty fee of £31m.
All throughout last season, Mourinho had been plagued with the recurring form and fitness issues of United’s centre-half pair of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, and their lack of availability in crucial times of the season didn’t help the gaffer’s cause.
Quite a few times, the Portuguese had called on the centre-backs to show extra zeal and desire to fight back into the team from their recovery but was left disappointed in the end.
With the arrival of Lindelof, the writings are crystal clear on the wall; the once-much-hyped English centre-back pairing of Jones and Smalling are no more in Jose’s plans as one can clearly see Eric Bailly pairing up with Lindelof in the centre for Man United.
The 22-year old Swedish International has been a solid figure for Benfica and played a significant part in the team’s run-up to become Liga NOS champions.
Lindelof featured 47 times for the Liga NOS champions this past season. Certainly, the player boasts of impeccable fitness, a quality that Mourinho would surely adore having in his team after what transpired last season at Old Trafford.
The 22-year old likes to build-up from the back and has the right degree of calmness and composure to do so, as is evident from his pass success percentage of 88.5%.
The Swede maintained an impressive tackle success rate of 76.6% along with a total of 66 interceptions with the Portuguese side.
Nonetheless, being a 22-year old with a lot of potential, Mourinho would certainly love the young prospect in his team. (Stats via WhoScored)
What’ll he offer the club?
At only 22 Lindelof is destined to be a long-term prospect for Man United at the back. Although he has zero experience of playing on foreign shores, still one must consider the fact that he has brushed shoulders many a time with European elites in the Champions League and didn’t disappoint with his performances.
Pairing up with Eric Bailly who has already been compared to the likes of Nemanja Vidic for his impressive performances last season, it is safe to say that the United defence would be a tougher wall to breach. The Swede with his calmness composure and defensive awareness could be a dependable figure for the Red Devils at the back, something that United had been missing for some time now.
Worth the buy?
Absolutely! This is an investment for the long-term future of Manchester United and seeing the quality and skills that the 22-year old brings to the table, it does seem like a good deal. Plus with Mourinho’s guidance, one can only see the individual flourish and become better with time as we had seen with Bailly and a few others in Raphael Varane and Kurt Zouma previously.
The Red Devils would be vying for silverware on all fronts next season and “The Special One” is certainly going all guns blazing in the summer transfer window to revamp his squad.