Thursday, 15 June 2017

United complete Lindelof signing in first summer swoop

United have completed the £31 million signing of Benfica's Swedish international centre-back Victor Lindelof. 

The centre-back, capped 12 times by his country, becomes the Reds most expensive defender, eclipsing the £29 million paid for Rio Ferdinand in 2002.

Lindelof will officially join United on July 1 on a four year deal with the option of a fifth. 

If Lindelof can replicate the quality and class that Rio brought to the United back line, then we've got ourselves an excellent foil for Eric Bailly, who impressed last season after his arrival from Villarreal. 

The 22 year old played 47 times for Portuguese champions Benfica last season, and represented Sweden in all three of their group matches at Euro 2016. 
Lindelof proved a key man at the heart of the Benfica defence last term as Rui Vitoria's side added the domestic cup to a fourth consecutive Primeira Liga title. 

He began his career in his homeland with Vaster SK, for whom he played for four seasons before he signed for the Lisbon club in 2011.
He went on to star in Sweden's victorious European Under 21 Championships campaign in 2015, and also brings with him the added experience of Champions League football - having played in every minute of Benfica's run to the last 16 last term.

Jose Mourinho is known to be a long term admirer of Lindelof and intended to make a move for him both last summer and in January.

Such was the run of form of Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, however, that the club shelved plans to bring him in then, but now Jose has finally got his man. 

Jones and Rojo cannot be relied upon to stay fit though and Blind - largely excellent when utilised in central defence - does not have the stature Jose demands from his defenders.

Lindelof, at 6ft 2in, does and the imposing Swede bears the hallmarks of the defensive lynchpin that United have lacked since the twin departures of Rio and Vida in 2014. 

He said: "I'm thrilled, I have enjoyed my time at Benfica enormously and I have learned a lot there. But now I'm looking forward to playing in the Premier League at Old Trafford and for Jose Mourinho and the wonderful fans of Manchester United.  I'm keen to get started and make my own contribution to the team's efforts to deliver more trophies." 

With Lindelof set to make his United debut on the summer tour to the USA, Jose is still thought to be in the market for further defensive re-inforcements. 

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