Three-time Champions League winners Manchester United are thought to be keen on snapping up Benfica’s highly-rated centre-back Victor Lindelof, in an effort to bolster their defensive line-up as the race for the top four heats up in the second half of the season.
The 22-year-old defender from Sweden has been in impressive form for Portuguese giants Benfica this season. He has been consistently exhibiting his ability to hold his team’s back line, averaging one successful tackle and no less than four clearances per game in his 28 appearances over-all for the club so far.
It is understandable that such raw talent and potential may be seen as tantalising; however, United should show some restraint and hold back on launching a bid for Lindelof, and here are three reason why.
1. Lindelof is too expensive
Being a crucial part of the team, Benfica are understably not too excited to see their defender leave and have slapped a €45m price tag on the player in an effort to discourage United from making a move, with a handful of clauses inserted in the potential deal, which could see the fee rise to €60m.
For such a steep price for a young, relatively untested defender, the money being asked for him is too much. And while the 20-time English top-flight champions are certainly keen on making a statement in this transfer window, Lindelof is not the right player to do that. There are other marquee signings out there which United could take on.
2. Eric Bailly is set to return in February
Manchester United’s fans were clearly happy with the signing of Eric Bailly from Villareal back in July last year, despite the player’s hefty €38m price tag. It was a signing that addressed United long-time problem in defence.
Eric Bailly enjoyed a good, albeit a little shaky, start at United, but he has proven on numerous occasions he can be a key man in the back for the Red Devils, managing an average of three interceptions and five clearances per game in his 18 appearances for the club thus far.
He isn’t in the first team at the moment because of his call-up to the Ivory Coast national team, with the country set to play in the African Cup of nations. But that is only until the 5th of February. Should Lindelof sign for United, where would he go once Bailly comes back and takes the Swede’s place from the pecking order?
3. Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are in Stellar Form
The defensive pairing of Rojo and Jones haven’t exactly been earning fans in recent times. Jones, a player from Sir Alex Ferguson’s days at the club, has not hit his expected prime just yet. But under Mourinho, the two seem to be playing better and better after each match, becoming more and more solid in the back.
This solid partnership has led to United’s rise in form in recent weeks, enabling the Premier League giants to remain unbeaten in their last 13 games across all competitions.
That form may become unsettled with Lindelof coming in, as the new arrival may upset the balance the team is enjoying so far – a risk United simply cannot afford to take.