MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Manchester United are reportedly holding talks with Benfica to sign Sweden defender Victor Lindelof in the January transfer window.
According to Sky Sports News HQ, the English Premier League giants have opened discussions with the Portuguese club over a £38m move for the centre-back as manager Jose Mourinho looks to strengthen his backline.
Benfica were hesitant to sell Lindelof after the club secured passage into the Champions League round of 16 but “Sky sources in Portugal are confirming” that Manchester United have held talks with the club’s president Luis Filipe Vieira over a possible move.
With United struggling to keep clean sheets this season, Mourinho is determined to shake things up at the back as he looks to form a solid defensive line in the second half of the season.
Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo have been steady in their partnership in the heart of the defence but Mourinho apparently isn’t all that convinced about using them going forward.
Rojo’s form and decision making sometimes haven’t been totally stable this season, while Jones is no stranger to long-term injuries.
With summer recruit Eric Bailly still injured and is set to join Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, Mourinho knows he must have adequate cover, especially since Chris Smalling is just coming back from injury and needs time to adjust.
Meanwhile, former Manchester United winger Jesper Blomqvist thinks Lindelof is a very good target, adding that the Red Devils are have looking to sign the Swedish version of “Rio Ferdinand and Ronny Johnsen.”
Sky Sports reported in November that Mourinho had made the 22-year-old his top target in the January transfer window.
“I was watching the November match between Sweden and France on TV and caught a glimpse of Jose Mourinho in the stand,” Blomqvist told the Manchester Evening News.
“My first thought was that it could only be Victor Lindelof he was looking at. My second thought was what a great signing that would be for the player and Manchester United. It would be perfect.”
He added: “I have seen him play for the national under-21s, the senior side and in the Champions League for Benfica and he has the right qualities.
“He’s quick, confident with the ball, likes to play and is very strong. For United fans, I think the best comparisons would be with Rio Ferdinand and Ronny Johnsen.
“I’m not saying he is at their level yet but he is very capable of getting there. He’s a mature player and a mature person.”
Currently United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already backed the club in its pursuit of his countryman.
Lindelof was a member of Sweden’s team and played with Ibrahimovic at the Euro 2016 tournament and played in all three group matches.
He has won 11 caps for his country.