Manchester United have been persistently linked with a move for Benfica center-back Victor Lindelof, but it now looks like manager Jose Mourinho has pulled the plug on the deal
The 22-year-old Swiss center-back has been hugely impressive for Benfica over the past couple of seasons. Manchester United have been long time admirers, having bid for his services this past summer, only to be rejected.
That hasn’t deterred the Premier League giants though, as United have been strongly linked with a swoop for Lindelof in January. It was believed that the Red Devils were willing to meet his £38 million release clause, and the Swiss defender was all set to become one of the biggest January transfers of all time.
The possible move had tongues wagging everywhere, with pundits comparing him to Rio Ferdinand and his former national team hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic having his say on the matter.
However, it now looks like the move is not going to happen after all, according to some of the most reputed sources in the game. BBC first broke the news that United manager Jose Mourinho had decided not to go for the big money acquisition, and it has since been reported by the Guardian as well.
The reports state that Mourinho has been convinced by the performances of his current central defensive pair of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones, and he no longer feels that a central defender is a top transfer priority.
The injuries to two of his first choice center-backs in Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly had put Jose Mourinho and Manchester United in a tough spot.
The unheralded pair of Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones seemed like a nightmarish choice for United, but the duo have since put in some impressive displays in central defence. This has assuaged many of the doubts Mourinho had about the Red Devils’ defence.
“I think, you are the ones who admit they [Jones and Rojo] deserve more attention and more headlines. [But] they are not worried, they are playing more than ever, better than ever,” said Mourinho, according to the Guardian report.
“Rojo was also having lots of injuries. He is also [injury] free. In a period without Bailly and Smalling, where people could be scared, they stepped up. Really solid. I am happy for them.”
Pulling the plug on the Lindelof deal seems like a more rational choice, given the fact that United would have to pay a huge sum for an as yet unproven young center-back.
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