Victor Lindelof will arrive at Manchester United’s Carrington training base on Wednesday to complete his move from Benfica. United announced on Saturday night that a deal, believed to be worth £30.7 million, had been agreed between the two clubs.
Jose Mourinho had been trailing the 22-year-old earlier in the season and United were working on a deal in January with a view to this summer.
They managed to thrash out terms with Benfica and there is a chance the player may be unveiled later on Wednesday or on Thursday – depending on how long his physical tests take.
Lindelof’s record transfer fee for a defender indicates that Mourinho is envisioning a defensive partnership between Lindelof and Eric Bailly for the foreseeable future.
“I can see him with Eric Bailly in the centre of the defence,” says Bojan Djordic, a former Swedish midfielder, who played for United and watches them regularly in his capacity as a television commentator.
“They’re young and very talented and Jose Mourinho has exceptional contacts in Portugal. I can understand why some United supporters maybe wanted a bigger name, but they also have to accept that United are not as attractive as they once were. United finished sixth last season, it’s hard to attract the very, very best for a fair price.
“Champions League football will help, but fans need to be patient and the club have to continue to rebuild slowly. United are still in transition.”
As well as Bailly, United also have Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, who can play in central defence. While they need more than two central defenders, they don’t need six.
“As I former pro, I found Mourinho’s comments about Chris Smalling and Phil Jones very interesting,” says Djordic. “It was clear he had doubts about them. Maybe Victor will need some time to adapt but I’ve watched him play for Sweden in France and he needed no time to adapt. It’s not like he’s competing with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic either.”
“He’s a fast, has a great anticipation,” says Portuguese journalist João Silva Neves of Lindelof. “He’s got very good concentration and he’s good at free kicks, but he needs to improve on his tackling as he can be a bit imprudent. He’s very good at marking forwards, he’s got the strength that will be perfect for England and I like him a lot, not least because of his 100 perfect work rate and stamina. He needs improvement, but I think Jose is going to take good care of him.”