Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Benfica’s Swedish defender Victor Lindelof during the January transfer window, which could happen providing the Portuguese team do not make the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League this season. United have defensive problems this season with Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly on the sidelines, with the latter returning to training this week, and then in January off to the African Cup of Nations to represent Ivory Coast, the current holders in the competition. United will then be back to four fit defenders through January and into February with injury derailing things once again for the club. In the summer, it was reported that Jose Mourinho wanted to make another defensive addition with Southampton’s Jose Fonte linked to the club, but after signing Paul Pogba, United did not delve back into the transfer market.
Lindelof has been praised by many, including Manchester United striker and compatriot Zlatan Ibrahimovic and it is suggested that United are in the driving seat for the players signature. Benfica currently lead group B in the Champions League, having the same amount of points as Napoli in second place with Beşiktaş in third place with seven points. If United did want Lindelof in January, Napoli would need to beat Benfica and Beşiktaş would need to beat Dynamo Kyiv, which could happen. If not, United will have to look into other players to strengthen the defence in January or wait until the summer to lure the Swede to Old Trafford. Lindelof’s agent Hasan Cetinkaya recently stated the following:
“I don’t want to comment on various clubs but there is concrete interest from some of the biggest in Europe.
“‘Vigge’ really enjoys it at Benfica, at the same time, as I have said before, there is no smoke without fire when it comes to that many clubs that are interested in him, but Victor is focused on Benfica.”
Whilst Lindelof is a target for many big clubs in Europe, there is no confirmation that Manchester United are a team interested in the player, or that he would be tempted to move to a club not participating in the top European competition this season, or next if United fail to either win the UEFA Europa League, or finish fourth, at least, in the Premier League this season. Ibrahimovic might be a player that could tempt the 22-year-old to the Theatre of Dreams, but it is not a certainty. One thing that makes me wonder is whether Lindelof is good enough for Manchester United. Is he better than the players he could replace at the club; Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind? Is he a better option that the talented youth at the club, namely Axel Tuanzebe and RoShaun Williams? Is the supposed interest in the player strong? The media do get speculation wrong most of the time.