Victor Lindelof: Manchester United’s ball playing defender?

On June 10, 2017, Manchester United announced that they had agreed on a deal with Benfica to sign Victor Lindelöf. The reaction to this was decent as many United fans thought he was a good addition to the squad. Lindelöf is a defender who is known for his great passing ability and composure on the ball.

He had what the United defence lacked, that is the ability to pass out from defence with accuracy and calmness. While at Benfica Lindelöf rose from the B team and made a name for himself in the first team thus earning a place in the Sweden squad. Hence this article will be reviewing his first season at United and why he is important to the team.

Lindelöf made his debut for United against Real Madrid where he had a tough game with many United fans left shocked with the player’s poor performance. Is he good enough? The ever-burning question lingered in the mind of many Manchester United fans.

Those thoughts would stay a bit longer as on October 21, 2017, Lindelöf had probably the worst game of his career when he came on for Phil Jones in the match between United and Huddersfield Town. Poor tackling and a missed header that led to a goal summed up a bad day for the Swedish man.

Why did United sign him? The questions came flooding in as United fans now thought he was not ready for the physical demands of the Premier League. I thought to myself this was just a learning curve for the young footballer who has time to become a better version of himself. As a former footballer, I sympathize with the professionals as no one is perfect and to grow one must make mistakes.

In football, time is a beautiful thing as it not only fosters change but it also reveals ones’ true qualities and abilities. Thus, came November and so did the fortunes for Lindelöf as he produced a Man of the Match display against Brighton and Hove Albion where he was smooth on the ball as he was silk itself.

A confident performance that demonstrated his passing, composure and forward thinking that made United fans start to wonder if this player could develop into one of the greats at the club. I mean that tackle on Anthony Knockaert, got me out of my seat and I am sure that all United fans loved it.

He had a mixed first season at United with a bit of bad and a bit of good, however, one must remember both Nemanja Vidic and Jaap Stam had a rough six months before they started to show their greatness. Things take time, and time reveals all is the thought that all Manchester United supporters must keep in mind.

If that is not enough then United fans can look back at Jose Mourinho’s history with defenders and how he made them great players. Namely, Ricardo Carvalho, Lucio, and Raphael Varane. Mourinho is an expert when it comes on to defensive players, as reference you can look at United’s defensive record and the statistics recorded by the statisticians.

His tactics and David De Gea heroics made the latter win the golden glove for the first time. What I would like to see more is Lindelöf and Bailly been paired together as I think Eric Bailly would be the no-nonsense defender and Lindelöf would be the calm forward-thinking ball playing defender, this would make United more dynamic.

Overall Lindelöf made 29 appearances for United which he will look to improve on the coming season. The upcoming FIFA World Cup will, therefore, be a crucial point in Lindelöf’s career as he will seek to prove his talent on the global stage. Do you believe he deserves to be at United?

Written by Ricardo Edwards

Victor Lindelof needs a chance to prove himself at Manchester United

Victor Lindelof’s Manchester United career got off to a rocky start following his move from Benfica last summer. His pre-season wasn’t particularly inspiring and was capped off with a  performance against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup in which he conceded a penalty. That wasn’t unexpected though for a 23-year-old central defender settling in at Manchester United after a big summer transfer.

At the outset of the league campaign, Lindelof was used sparingly. He was used almost exclusively in the UEFA Champions League. Jose Mourinho felt Lindelof could ease in at United in European competition as it was more similar to the style of play and speed of the Primeira Liga. It would take him more time to adjust to the more direct and physical style of the Premier League.  The Swede performed admirably in his European appearances, albeit against group competition United would expect to dominate. Still, there were promising signs.

His first action in the Premier League was far less inspiring as Mourinho’s fears seemed well founded. Coming on for an injured Phil Jones (surprise, surprise) after 23 minutes, Lindelof was shocking in United’s humiliating 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town in late October.

In particular, he was at fault for the second goal where he simply chose not to challenge for a long clearance from the Huddersfield keeper. Laurent Depoitre capitalized on his indecision, pounced on the free ball then beat David De Gea in net.

Since then Mourinho has kept Lindelof on a short leash. He put together a string of positive domestic displays in late November during a stage when United’s central defenders were ravaged with injuries, but when the manager has had other options he’s generally turned to them.

Lindelof’s up-and-down nature hasn’t made it easy for Mourinho to give him a string of matches either. A solid display in United’s victory last month against Chelsea at Old Trafford was followed by a shaky performance against Crystal Palace for example. He was bullied on more than a few occasions by Christian Benteke. Amidst a competitive top-four race with United desperate to hold onto the second spot in the table, it’s hard to blame Mourinho for not allowing the former Benfica man to play through his mistakes.

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Lindelof was bought with the hope he would form a long and fruitful partnership with Eric Bailly. The Ivorian was a shrewd purchase last summer. He’s been a cut above the competition since his arrival and is one of the first names on the team sheet when healthy.

The rest of United’s options in central defense are all flawed in their own ways. Phil Jones is quality when healthy, but injury is always around the corner. Marcos Rojo has struggled for form since recovering from an ACL tear last year and still looks short of full fitness. Nobody has ever questioned Chris Smalling’s individual ability as a defender, but his lack of quality and composure in possession stunts United from getting on the front foot and invites pressure.

All have had numerous opportunities to stake their claim as Bailly’s preferred partner at the heart of United’s defense, but have flattered to deceive. Lindelof, as mentioned earlier, hasn’t necessarily been a rock of consistency either, but it’s imperative for United to get a read on how he’s progressed prior to the summer.

Mourinho will want to solidify a defense which has looked shaky and vulnerable at various times this season. It’s apparent United need to add fullbacks, but hard decisions will need to be made in central defense as well. It seems certain one or both of Jones and Smalling will be moved on after being given years to deliver on their promise. Rojo has just signed a new contract and the Argentine has always seemed like a classic blood-and-thunder “Mourinho player”.

Much less is known about Lindelof. He has real quality on the ball, something his competition sorely lacks but has proven to be weak and inexperienced in dealing with the direct and physical nature of the English game.

After the better part of a full campaign to adjust it’s now time see if Lindelof will sink or swim. Jose Mourinho is still searching for solutions to return Manchester United to the top. He must start by giving one of his own hand-picked transfers a chance to prove his worth.

Written by Ashwin Ramnath

Has Victor Lindelof cemented his place in the Manchester United starting XI?

When the young Swede arrived at Old Trafford there was much excitement that Victor Lindelof could become a mainstay in United’s defence for years to come. But ever since his arrival in Manchester the former Benfica man, has failed to establish himself as a regular starter under Mourinho. Up until recently where he has had his most consistent run, bringing with it good performances.

Over the past few years, United have struggled to cement a consistent centre-back pairing, ever since the departures of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, but the 22-year-old was brought in and immediately compared to Ferdinand, which obviously brought some pressure with it. His ability to read the game, his speed and his defensive capabilities were just a few things that convinced Mourinho to part with £30 Million for a man with only 46 appearances for former club Benfica.

However, his time at Old Trafford has failed to really take off and he has only made six League starts for United this season. He has found the adjustment to English football really testing and told Sky Sports this week that; “Every game is difficult here”. It’s a far cry from the football he was used to playing in Portugal where, the style is slower and less physical, so his struggles to adapt have been understandable.

As well as his struggles to adapt to the style of football played in England, he came into a club where there was immediate competition for places, admitting; “We have world-class players in every position and I think it’s very important to have. This club is one of the biggest in the world, so you’re obviously going to have that.” He found is tough at the start of the season, where Eric Bailly and Phil Jones cemented a regular partnership and were in really good form.

Since Bailly’s injury back in December, Mourinho hasn’t been able to tie down a regular partnership and has been trying out different pairings, which has been tough for Lindelof to get a consistent run in the side. But recently he has started the last four games for the reds and is beginning to find his feet in the Premier League.

With the form of Smalling and Jones, coming under a lot of criticism over recent weeks and their futures being thrown into question, Lindelof will hope to take full advantage and begin to establish himself as a regular starter as the season enters its most important period. With Bailly slowly returning to full fitness, as well the Swede will be hoping to create a partnership will the Ivorian that Mourinho will be able to rely on.

With speculation surrounding potential defensive incomings in the summer, the 22-year-old really needs to make a statement from now until the end of the season, and convince the United boss he can be relied on. Over recent weeks he has been able to do that, he just needs to keep improving and show that the excitement that surrounded him when he came to Manchester wasn’t for nothing.

Written by Dan Pearce

Victor Lindelof is living the Manchester United dream after faith shown in him pays off

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has stated that he is ‘living the dream’ at the Old Trafford club right now. The Swedish international signed for Jose Mourinho’s side in the summer after a £30 million transfer from Portuguese side Benfica. It was a slow start to his United career after some mistakes in pre-season and at the start of the season.

Recently though, Lindelof has found his place in the team, starting the last three matches; the 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup, the 0-0 draw with Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League and the 2-1 victory over Chelsea in the Premier League. Lindelof feels that he is improving ‘every day’ during his first season at the club.

The 23-year-old has helped his side keep two clean sheets in their last three matches and that will go a long way in the manager trusting the Swede ahead of the remainder of the season. It was suggested that Lindelof and teammate Eric Bailly could be the new chosen central defensive partnership during the summer but so far the pair have played very little together.

During the past few months, Mourinho has defended his summer signing insisting that there was ‘no pressure’ on him at the club. Lindelof, speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the Monday Night Football clash with Crystal Palace in the Premier League, said:

“Coming here to play at this great club has been a dream for me since I was a kid, so yeah – I enjoy it every day. I wake up every day and I’m very happy I get to come here and do what I love. I don’t take anything for granted, I work hard every day.

“I’m just trying to do my best every day, work hard and improve. When you’re given the chance to play, it’s always nice to be out there and help the team, and I’m just happy to be out there doing that.

“We have world-class players in every position and I think that’s very important to have. This club is one of the biggest clubs in the world, so you’re obviously going to have that.”

Lindelof will have learned the demands of the Premier League after making his move from Benfica in the summer. The Swede was a starting regular in the clubs Carabao Cup team, also playing regularly in the Champions League. Mourinho will have foreseen the problems the Swede would face in the Premier League, so he gave him the time to adjust and get up to speed.

The Premier League is a lot more competitive than the league in Portugal, where there is a lot less competition from clubs for titles and eight of the teams in the top flight in Portugal play in stadiums which hold fewer than 10,000 supporters. Adapting to the Premier League is something Lindelof seems to have done already, hence the performances so far. Lindelof said:

“Every game is difficult here. Every opponent is going to work hard, fight for 90 minutes to try to get three points, and that’s what makes the Premier League such a good league, the level of competition. It was a bit different in Portugal, we had only a few big games during the season.

“We want to win as many games as possible and of course, you always want to come first. But if not, second is there, and that’s what we have to work for. We’re improving as a team every day. It’s important for us to play a lot of games, and just keep going.”

Lindelof will likely play his fourth match in a row at Crystal Palace in the Premier League this evening with Mourinho confirming that Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, and Daley Blind are all still out of action following recent injuries. That leaves the Portuguese manager with just Lindelof, Eric Bailly, and Chris Smalling as the experienced central defenders and Bailly has only recently come back from a long-term injury of his own and has not played a substantial number of minutes for his side yet following his return from injury.

Manchester United duo excited to face Manchester City at Old Trafford on Sunday

Manchester United duo Juan Mata and Victor Lindelof have talked about their excitement ahead of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. This season, City top the Premier League table eight points ahead of United, who have started the season well and are challenging for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

On Tuesday evening, the pair played in United’s final UEFA Champions League group match, earning a 2-1 victory over CSKA Moscow, topping the group and qualifying for the knockout stage of the competition.

The focus now shifts to Sunday’s Premier League clash with United seeming to slim down the eight-point deficit City hold of the Old Trafford club. Mata, speaking to the official Manchester United website about Sunday’s clash, said:

“We have a few [Premier League] games until the next Champions League match, so our aim is to focus on the league – it’s a crucial period for us.”

Last season in the EFL Cup, United beat City 1-0 with Mata scoring the only goal of the game. United went on to lift the League Cup, beating Southampton in the final at Wembley, Jose Mourinho’s first major trophy as United manager. The Spanish attacking midfielder is looking forward to another victory over the blue side of Manchester. He said:

“The next match is even more special because we are playing first against second, and, if we get the three points, we can get closer in the table.”

Swedish defender Lindelof is excited about his first competitive Manchester derby after his £30.75 million transfer from Benfica in the summer. Lindelof has played in the last few United matches, playing three at the back, which has resulted in a trio of victories in the Premier League and continued with a victory over CSKA Moscow at the Theatre of Dreams on Tuesday evening, setting United up nicely for the derby on Sunday. Lindelof, speaking about this ‘massive’ game, said:

“I am very excited for the derby, if I get the chance to play. Right now, I am just happy for the win and that we have finished first in the group and, tomorrow, we think about the next game. It is going to be a massive game that we are all looking forward to.”

Over the past few weeks, United have been lowering the deficit in the league from eight points to five points, only for City to win and raise the deficit. United will be seeking to take it back to down to five points again, or see the ‘knowledgeable’ pundits say the season is over and City have won the league, despite the halfway point of the season not coming for another three matches after Sunday’s. United have a lot to gain from beating City, the last team to beat the side at Old Trafford on the 10th September 2016.

Victor Lindelof confirms the Premier League is a tough league but he’s settling in at Manchester United

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has confirmed that the Premier League is a lot tougher than the Primeira Liga in Portugal but insisted that he is learning every day at the Old Trafford club. The Swedish international has bonded with his teammates and in the past few matches, has seen his confidence grow severely after a tough start to the career at the club. Jose Mourinho signed the 23-year-old from Benfica in a £30.75 million deal in the summer, the second defender the Portuguese manager has brought to the club.

The Swede, after a number of confident performances, was awarded the Man of the Match award after the 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League, before he really got stuck in when Mourinho changed the formation with three defenders against both Watford and Arsenal. United won both matches; 4-2 at Vicarage Road and 3-1 at the Emirates as United looked to confirm their place in the UEFA Champions League against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday evening, five days before the first Manchester derby of the season.

Lindelof was part of the clubs pre-match press conference on Monday, the player gave credit to Mourinho and his teammates for his progress at the club so far this season. Reported by the official Manchester United website, the Swede said:

Well I think when you come to a new club, you always have to learn. I’m still learning, I learn every day and I’m working hard to try to help the team.

“I speak with the manager, he’s been very good for me and I think I can learn a lot from him and also the other coaches. So we talk and it has been good.

“The whole team have helped as well. We always try to help each other. For me I cannot just pick one. I think the whole team has been very good since I arrived and helped me in a lot of ways.”

Lindelof was asked about the differences he has noticed between the Premier League and the Primeira Liga with the Swedish international saying:

“I would have to say the league we play in here, the Premier League, is a tougher one than the Portuguese league. As for the differences, it’s two big clubs. 

“Here in Manchester, at Manchester United, it’s one of the biggest clubs in the world and you have more eyes watching you. That’s the thing I would say is the biggest difference.”

United manager Jose Mourinho was asked about the defender’s progress at the Old Trafford club during the press conference with the Portuguese manager praising his £30.75 million summer signing, saying:

“He’s like the team. When the team plays well, he plays well. When the team doesn’t play well, he doesn’t play so well. So the mistakes he had in matches were not mistakes against the level of the team. When he made mistakes it was when the team was playing bad.”

United face CSKA Moscow at 19:45 GMT in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford this evening, before welcoming noisy neighbours Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday 10th December 2017; KO 16:30 GMT. United will complete their trio of home matches by hosting Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday 13th December 2017; KO 20:00 GMT. United will be seeking to win all three home matches, keeping their 100% record alive this season.

Jose Mourinho praises Victor Lindelof for performance at Watford; Anthony Martial also lauded

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has been praised for the way he has settled at the Old Trafford club, especially over the last two matches. United beat Watford 4-2 on Tuesday evening, making it three victories in a row for the club, also earning the three points needed to make it 900 Premier League points on the road. Against Watford, Lindelof impressed with a composed performance, also playing well against Brighton and Hove Albion, recovering from that slip against Newcastle United which allowed Dwight Gayle in to score the opening goal in the 4-1 victory.

Lindelof arrived at the Theatre of Dreams from Benfica in a £30.75 million deal in the summer and was made to wait for his Premier League debut, playing in the UEFA Champions League sparingly. Lindelof, playing on the right of a three-man defence at Vicarage Road seemed settled and confident, which is important for a player to have when he has made the move to a new club, let alone in a new country. Speaking to MUTV but reported by Sky Sports, Jose Mourinho, praising Lindelof, said:

“I think Richarlison is a very good player and a difficult player to play against but Victor [Lindelof] is very fast.

“He has adapted to play centrally but also to go to the sides because he’s got the agility that many of the central defenders don’t have. I think it was another very positive performance by Victor.”

With the victory over Watford, United moved to within five points of Premier League leaders Manchester United, who welcome Southampton at the Etihad on Wednesday evening. There was a second-half collapse for United, which saw Watford score twice in seven minutes, the first from the penalty spot after Marcos Rojo gave it away. It took Jesse Lingard’s solo effort to give United a two-goal cushion, sending them into the final minutes knowing the win was theirs to lose.

Mourinho also praised Anthony Martial after the victory, scoring the third goal of the evening, in the 32nd minute of the match, with United playing a clinical first half after the initial five minutes saw United playing poorly. The goal was Martial’s sixth Premier League goal this season, which has shown him play with more freedom and more importantly more confidence. The Portuguese manager feels that the 21-year-old Frenchman has a lot to offer the club, saying:

“I am pleased. I think he suffers a little bit with accumulation of matches. I could feel that in the second half he was going down and down and down.

“He’s still a young guy and his body, his biological situation has space to improve but in the first half, during the time, he had strength and explosion in his legs. He was dangerous and scored an important goal.”

United have a few days rest before they play their next game, another away match, this time at the Emirates where they face Arsenal – a must-win fixture. December will be a busy month for United, where a total of nine matches will be played before the end of the month, with the Manchester derby at Old Trafford seemingly one of the most important during the month, not to mention the UEFA Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow, with United still not sealing their place in the knockout stages of the competition this season.

Victor Lindelof has started to settle at Manchester United; sets sights on first team place

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof has stated that he is starting to settle at the Old Trafford club following his £30 million switch from Benfica earlier in the summer. The Swedish defender finally made his Old Trafford debut in the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening, playing well but rarely tested for his defensive abilities. Lindelof will gain some confidence from his performance but would need to be tested to earn a place in the starting XI on a week by week basis, which was something which was suggested in the summer after his arrival with him and Eric Bailly being the chosen due to fortify United defence.

United have been in the safe hands of Bailly and Phil Jones since the start of the season though, but that partnership did not work quite so well after the international break with United conceding their first two goals of the season and dropping their first points of the season with the 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday evening. Bailly and Jones were both suspended in the opening Champions League match of the season which saw both Lindelof and Chris Smalling recalled to the side – they last played in the UEFA Super Cup, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.

Lindelof could cost United a further £9 million in add-ons, but for that to happen, he would need to be a regular starter and play a lot of matches, which is something the player will be setting his sights on now he has started to settle and is into the first month of the new season at his new club. Speaking after the 3-0 victory over FC Basel in the Champions League, Lindelof spoke about how he thought his home debut went, with Sky Sports reporting:

“I think it was a very good debut. To play my first match at Old Trafford is something I have really waited for. It felt really good.

“I played my own game and did what I was told to do on the pitch. Now I’m going to leave the match for a while and then watch the replay to see if there’s anything that I could have done better.

“I feel pretty confident and know what I’m able to do.”

Jose Mourinho will most likely revert back to Bailly and Jones as his defence duo against Everton in the Premier League on Sunday but Lindelof will start to become more and more involved in the squad as the matches start to come thick and fast with another five matches to play before the end of the month. He may not be involved in the Premier League yet, but against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup, which will be played at Old Trafford in a weeks time, the Swede could be involved in a match to gain some more confidence ahead of him contesting for a place in the starting XI on a more regular basis. Lindelof when asked if he had seen the comments by Mourinho, said:

“I have noticed what’s been written, but it’s not something that I have focused on.

“I try to focus on my game and add as much as I can to the team.

“[The defensive competition] feels good. They are all good players and I think it’s easy to play with them all.

“We’re going to play the system the manager thinks is the best. I’m used to playing with four at the back, but if Mourinho wants to play with five or three, that’s no problem at all.”

Paul Pogba did not have the best of starts in the Champions League for United, hobbling off in the 19th minute after suffering a suspected hamstring injury, which could keep him on the sidelines for a number of weeks. Lindelof, however, does not think it will be a problem for United with Pogba not being available for matches, saying:

“It’s tough to lose such a good player. But we have good players who can cover for him.”

Lindelof of a decent defender and Mourinho has seen something in him to suggest he could form a bond and partnership with Bailly. The Portuguese ‘special one’ has seemingly been a long-term admirer of the Swede and was linked with him during the January transfer window, no move materialised for the player with him being the first signing by the manager during his second summer transfer window. It may be time before Lindelof starts to play like he did at Benfica, but the signs are good. You would expect a player to have some teething problems when playing for a new club, in a new, much tougher league, so in the coming weeks and months, as Lindelof starts to become a much bigger figure in the squad, United should have a defence to be proud of.

Victor Lindelof is the perfect player for Manchester United but needs time says Jesper Blomqvist

Manchester United summer signing Victor Lindelof have been tipped to be a success at the Old Trafford club despite his start being somewhat shaky during the club’s pre-season campaign and the defeat against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup. The Swedish international is yet to feature for United in the Premier League this season, being named as a substitute in the second match of the season against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium in which United despatched the Welsh side 4-0, their second high-scoring victory of the new season. The 23-year-old is a versatile defender but needs the time to settle in at the new club, like many players have needed at some point, even at other clubs.

Former United midfielder and treble winner Jesper Blomqvist has suggested his compatriot has what it takes to achieve big things in Jose Mourinho’s United side. The player made a £30 million switch from Benfica during the summer, a team which United will face twice in the UEFA Champions League group stage, something which Lindelof could be involved in. The player will feature against FC Basel next week in United’s first game back in the Champions League after 18 months of sitting out of the elite European competition. Speaking to Four Four Two and reported by the Daily Mail, Blomqvist said:

“He’s a little bit young, but I believe a lot in him. He’ll be better when he gets acclimatised.

“I feel like he’s a perfect fit for a central defender but can also play on the right. He’s very comfortable with the ball, he likes to play from the back and is very fast so he can be good one against one as well.

“I definitely feel he’s the perfect player for United but it takes time. If you look at the other players here now, all of them have taken some time.

“I felt it too. Whenever you come to a big club like this there’s so much going on around and it’s not as easy to get into the club, into the team, because it’s more spread out than in a smaller club.”

Lindelof played in Sweden’s 4-0 victory over Belarus on Sunday, which would have helped in the player’s confidence ahead of a return to Manchester United duty at the weekend, which could see him feature at some stage with him needing some fitness ahead of the Champions League opened against Basel at Old Trafford in a week’s time. So far this season it has been Phil Jones and Eric Bailly who have formed a decent partnership in the league with Lindelof needing to dislodge one or the other to get into the team. Perhaps Mourinho will play three at the back with Lindelof coming in between Jones and Bailly, which would create a decent defensive side, one which could be needed at the bet365 stadium against Stoke City on Saturday.

United will play seven matches in September with the return of the Champions League and the defence of the Carabao Cup in which United will face Burton Albion at Old Trafford. Mourinho will have a lot of players to choose from with the likes of Luke Shaw and Ashley Young nearing their first team comebacks with Marcos Rojo not all that far off his own return to action. Lindelof, when he is given the chance will need to remain at the top of his game, getting the shaky start in pre-season and against Real Madrid behind him, inspiring him and getting his career at Manchester United started. Playing against Stoke, possibly, and in the Champions League could well be the start the Swede needs to gain some form and much-needed confidence at the start of the season.

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.

copyright: JW