Jose Mourinho has always worked with reliable, consistent defenders. From his early tenure at Porto to his recent stint at Chelsea, building a solid defensive unit has been Mourinho’s main priority – and he has continued that trend since taking over at Manchester United.
The Red Devils enjoyed a reasonably successful maiden campaign under Mourinho, embarking on a 25-match unbeaten domestic run before beating Ajax in May’s Europa League final; a result that guarantees Champions League football at Old Trafford next season.
And with United looking to compete and challenge on multiple fronts, signing a top class defensive talent is an absolute must this summer. Victor Lindelof, currently plying his trade for Benfica having worked his way through the ranks in Portugal, has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League and United have already shown an interest.
#mufc are close to signing Victor Lindelof for a fee of €35m + €5m depending on performance bonuses [record]
— utdreport (@utdreport) June 2, 2017
Mourinho’s Portuguese link could help the Red Devils to try and force through a deal although Benfica are likely to hold out for a fee in excess of around £40 million. After all, the Swede was pretty much an ever-present at the heart of a title-winning side…
According to Soccerway, Lindelof played 32 league games for Benfica last season – helping Rui Vitoria’s men to romp to the Portuguese crown. At 22 years old, he already has a wealth of experience; winning three league titles and four cups. On a personal level, Lindelof was named in the 2015 European Under 21s’ Championship Team of the Tournament, helping Sweden go all the way to the final before winning on penalties.
We know that Mourinho has liked Portuguese-style defenders in the past and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Red Devils push for Lindelof before the end of August. The onus is on Ed Woodward to work on any potential deals in the coming months, preferably before United embark on their pre-season tour.
Remember what the Portuguese did with Ricardo Carvalho during his first Chelsea stint? He turned him into one of the best and most consistent central defenders on the planet. Although not born in Portugal, Lindelof has matured into an aggressor and his no-nonsense style would certainly suit England’s top flight.
Eric Bailly has been a revelation since joining United last summer but healthy competition is always welcomed at elite football clubs. With Bailly, Lindelof and Marcos Rojo, Mourinho will have three solid options at his disposal.
As of June 9th, the Red Devils are 3/1 to win the title in Premier League betting markets with bet365 and the Swedish star will give United a much-needed boost ahead of what could be a memorable campaign. However, fans shouldn’t expect too much of him just yet – he is still just 22 years old.
Defensively, United were solid last season but fresh blood is needed as the Red Devils look to juggle their European commitments. Mourinho is a born winner and the Portuguese will be expecting more success in the coming years. If Lindelof adjusts to life in England’s top flight, he could mature into United’s main defensive leader for the next decade. He has the talent, it is now all about fulfilling his potential.
Main image source: Full Time Devils via Facebook