Manchester City have reportedly (The Sun) entered into the race to sign Benfica defender Victor Lindelof. The Swedish defender was subjected to intense transfer speculation linking him with Manchester United during the Winter window. In fact, he was so close to a move to Old Trafford that there were rumours about the No.2 shirt number being set aside for the 22-year-old. However, Jose Mourinho decided to pull the plug on the transfer just a few days before the start of the January transfer window. The excellent performances of players like Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are thought to have been a key factor in his decision.
However, Jose Mourinho decided to pull the plug on the transfer. The excellent performances of players like Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are thought to have been a key factor in his decision.
The latest news is that, over the last few weeks, United have been actively involved in discussions with Benfica over signing Lindelof in the summer. Even now, uncertain about the requirement of a central defender, they have placed a pre-contract agreement with the player. This enables Manchester United to have the first refusal on the player. While it gives United an extremely comfortable position going into the summer, it also puts them in a slightly bothersome position considering that Manchester City have entered into the race to sign the player.
Pep Guardiola has reportedly (O Jogo) made Lindelof as one of his key summer targets. The City manager recently admitted that the club are in need of vast changes across the pitch. The ageing squad has not been able to compete with the best in the Premier league this season. Even though they have an incredible manager in the form of Guardiola, they have not been able to make much of an impact. Apart from reducing the age of the squad, Guardiola is also looking to bring in players who will match his style of play. Defence is one area of major concern to the club with the likes of Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna almost surely heading out of the way.
In the centre back positions, City have been badly let down by the likes of Nicolas Otamendi. Even though Guardiola is thought to be a staunch admirer of England defender John Stones, even his position is under threat owing to poor performances since the start of the season. Club captain Vincent Kompany is reportedly considering the possibility of retirement after failing to recover from a huge number of injury problems for the last couple of years.
Lindelof has been identified as the player to address the centre back crisis at the Etihad stadium. City will have no troubles in meeting the reported £38 million fee along with £4 million in add-ons. United were not ready to pay this huge sum of money especially after a summer in which they spend heavily on players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba.