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Swedish international nearing Manchester United move – reports

Manchester United are reportedly closing in on the signing of Benfica central defender Victor Lindelof. The reports seem to be generated by Portuguese daily Record, which have been carried by a number of newspapers in England. The Daily Mail have reported that the Swedish international could sign for the Old Trafford club this summer for a fee around the £35 million mark, whereas The Sun suggest the fee could be £30 million. The difference is explained by a bonus if targets at United are achieved whilst the player is at the club. That being said, the reports maintain what Record have said, which could be something or nothing. United have been interested in Lindelof for some time with a move expected during the January transfer window, which did not materialise.

On Wednesday, another Portuguese daily, O Jogo stated that Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira travelled to England to negotiate the sale of Lindelof and teammate Nelson Semedo, of which the Portuguese club were looking to get €95 million, around £83 million for the pair. United have a reported interest in Semedo, but with the resurgent form of Antonio Valencia, the right-back position is not as urgent as other which will need filling this summer, although Jose Mourinho could remain interested in the player, should he land all his other targets and still have funds available for the transfer, which would probably be an expensive one, considering Benfica and other Portuguese teams seem to sell players for high prices, which is fair enough at the end of the day.

Lindelof, now 23, has been linked to many big European teams with Real Madrid, Barcelona and newly promoted Championship winners Newcastle United, or as Sir Alex Ferguson would say, that wee club in the North East. United’s interest in Lindelof seemed to end in January amid reported of a third-party ownership which still needed to be resolved. Lindelof did sign a new contract with Benfica, which expires in the summer of 2022, which is not considered an issue for Manchester United and Jose Mourinho, according to the reports. United have watched Lindelof, or at least someone playing for Benfica throughout the season, the most recent being Benfica’s 4-0 victory over Belenenses in March.

Lindelof’s contract holds a £52 million release clause according to The Sun, which would deem their report of a £30 million fee to be unlikely unless Benfica were willing to accept offers of a lower value for the player, which would suggest the release clause would be pointless in all honesty. The report does state that Benfica president Vieira did want United to meet the release clause, instead agreeing on a fee of a more modest sum, the £30 million reported, which is a strange one, unless the club were resigned to lose the Swedish international and other suitors were no longer interested, therefore resigning Benfica to accepting United lower figure. There could well be something in this after all with United and Mourinho looking to find a capable defensive partner for Eric Bailly.

United have Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind in the central defence position at this moment in time with youth player Axel Tuanzebe also considered, although over the past few matches, he has been playing as a defensive midfielder, which may have been down to rotation and injury more than anything else. Rojo will be out of action until early 2018, which is a big blow for United with both Smalling and Jones injury prone, Bailly the key man in defence and Blind seen as his partner, at this moment in time at least. The prospective arrival of Lindelof, or another central defender, could end the United career of Smalling or Jones, or even both.

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