Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic has praised Benfica defender and fellow Swede Victor Lindelof, saying he is good enough for “big clubs.” Ibrahimovic was sitting the pre-match press conference for United’s Europa League clash against Feyenoord when he was asked his opinion of Lindelof, and, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News, Ibrahimovic had nothing but praise for his compatriot.
“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.
“Is he good enough for United? I think he’s good enough for the big clubs out there. It’s up to him what he wants and what the situation says. Whatever he chooses will be good for him. I know he is hot on the market so let him make the right choice, what fits him good.”
Lindelof was part of the Benfica team that blew a 3-0 lead at Besiktas to draw 3-3 in yesterday’s Champions League match between the two sides, but he has generally impressed since breaking into the first team last season, very quickly cementing a regular starting spot in the team. The 22-year-old has now become an important player for his club, playing in all but one club game that he has been available for, with the only exception being a cup game against third tier side Dezembro, completing the full 90 minutes in each one.
He has also become a key player for his country, playing in all but one of Sweden’s international matches since his first cap last March, including all three of Sweden’s Euro 2016 matches.
United are rumoured to be looking at defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window, especially with Eric Bailly potentially leaving to represent Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations, and Lindelof is one name who has been linked with a move to the club. United have also been linked with Lindelof before, as United were linked with him before the start of the last summer window, and with Ibrahimovic’s comments, speculation for a transfer will only intensify.
Even though it is easy to see this as a potential transfer story, it is important to remember what this is. This is a former Sweden national team captain, and a national icon, asked his opinion on a Swedish defender, by what is a Portuguese reporter, where the defender is based. It is normal for a reporter to asks questions relevant to where his publication is based, where, incidentally, there hasn’t been any recent reports specifically linking Lindelof to United, and it is also natural for the former captain and icon to praise his compatriot. Lindelof might very well be a United target, who knows, but that is not what this story is.