Manchester United announce first summer signing… Victor Lindelof

Manchester United have confirmed their first signing of the summer with Victor Lindelof completing his medical and signing a four-year contract with the Old Trafford club, with the addition of a further year which could keep the Swedish international at the Theatre of Dreams until 2022. United announced last week that they had agreed a £30.7 million fee with Benfica for the central defender, the second Jose Mourinho has brought to the club in just over a year – signing Eric Bailly for £30 million last summer, his first signing for the club. The arrival of Lindelof has suggested that Chris Smalling would be sold this summer, the player has employed a new agent, presumably to ensure he leaves for a club which would suit him.

Lindelof could partner Bailly in the centre of defence next season, which would probably give United their best centre-back pairing since Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were both at the club. Last season, Bailly was the stand-out performer in defence, proving himself in the Premier League, the EFL Cup, the Emirates FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. Next season, of which the Premier League fixtures have been announced today, United will be back in the UEFA Champions League, which will be one of the reasons Mourinho has opted to strengthen his defence. Marcos Rojo was a player who bettered himself last season, partnering Phil Jones and Bailly, but suffering a season-ending knee injury which will most likely see him out of action for the rest of 2017, missing at least the first half of the new season.

The Swedish international will no doubt need some time to settle into the club, but if he took to his new club like Bailly did last season, it will be a great start for the player. Lindelof was involved for Sweden in a 2-1 victory over France in a FIFA World Cup qualifier last week but did not play in the friendly draw in Norway on Tuesday evening, presumably heading to Manchester after that match ready for his medical and to cover the formalities of his switch which has been confirmed today. The player will offer strength-in-depth for Mourinho who may now be able to play a three at the back system for United, which seemed to be the case against the likes of Chelsea during the past season. Lindelof is a central defender, and last season for Benfica he made 32 appearances in the Primeira Liga, scoring once. His passing success rate was 90%, creating five chances for his teammates, winning 52% of his duels and averaging six defensive actions making no errors.

Speaking about his transfer to Manchester United, Lindelof said:

“I am thrilled to be joining Manchester United. I have enjoyed my time at Benfica enormously and I have learned a lot there. But I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League at Old Trafford and for Jose Mourinho. I’m keen to get started and make my contribution to the team’s efforts to win more trophies.”

Jose Mourinho speaking about his newest acquisition said:

“Victor is a very talented young player, who has a great future ahead of him at United. Our season last year showed us that we need options and quality to add depth to the squad and Victor is the first to join us this summer. I know that our fantastic group of players will welcome him as one of us.”

Lindelof was widely tipped to make the move from Benfica to United back in January with talk rife amongst the media, but nothing materialised with United opting to make no additions during the winter transfer window. The arrival of the Swede will now spark United’s transfer business this summer with Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata tipped to make the move, some saying before the end of the week, AS Monaco’s Fabinho speculation, but rumours suggest Mourinho is not interested in bringing in the Brazilian this summer. United are also interested in Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic, with speculation of a proposed transfer rumbling on. A central midfielder is also on the list, which is where Fabinho was thought to be the target, but reports are now saying it is Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur. We shall see what the next few weeks bring for the Old Trafford club. Signing number one of the summer complete.

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