Jose Mourinho is thought to have pulled the plug on a transfer for Benfica defender Victor Lindelof. The defender was set to cost the club around £40 million, as United are after a stronger defence in order to bring about a title challenge from the club. He was set to partner Eric Bailly in the heart of United’s defence. However, an incredible change of mind is thought to have caused a lot of problems in the proposed move to Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho has himself called off the transfer according to various reports from trusted sources like BBC (h/t by the Sun).
Now, though, it appears that the move may still be on with Benfica leaving out Lindelof completely out of the squad for the cup game against FC Pacos de Ferreira. One reason could be that the club wanted to preserve the player’s energy for the big matches or for the important competitions. Benfica are currently at the top of the Portuguese league table, but only with a four-point advantage over FC Porto. The club have made it to the last 16 of the Champions League where they will be facing Borussia Dortmund. It gives Benfica a real opportunity to progress into the quarter-finals, as they have avoided the traditional top teams.
Benfica are overwhelming favourites to get past the group stages of the Taca da Liga. Since it is one of the lower tier competitions in Portugal, the club are likely to focus heavily on the league and the Champions League. As a result, it is difficult to read too much into the decision by manager Rui Vitória to leave Lindelof completely out of the squad.
The 22-year-old defender came to the club in 2012 from Swedish outfit Västerås SK. The presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was seen as a major factor in convincing the player to move to Old Trafford at a time when a number of other top clubs were also interested in his signature. One of the first that arose was the reported clash between Benfica and Västerås SK over a fee owed to the Swedish club as part of any future sales of the player. The Swedish outfit are thought to have been demanding around £200,000 should the transfer be completed, but Benfica were not prepared to pay the fee after having spent just €60,000 in order to bring the player four years ago.
The partnership between Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones has flourished in recent weeks. It was seen as a major reason behind United deciding to do away with this costly transfer, which would have taken the season’s spending on new players close to £200 million. Instead, the club are preparing to look at offers for players like Franck Kessie.