Manchester United are being strongly linked to Swedish center-half Victor Lindelof, and now a former club great has come out and said that the 22-year-old could be the one to replace legendary defender Rio Ferdinand.
Lars Jesper Blomqvist won the historic treble of ’99 with Manchester United playing alongside some of the club’s best defenders of all time in Jaap Stam and Ronny Johnsen. He recently gave his verdict on fellow Swede and long-time Manchester United target Victor Lindelof.
“I was watching the November match between Sweden and France on TV and caught a glimpse of Jose Mourinho in the stand and my first thought was that it could only be Victor Lindelof he was looking at,” said Blomqvist, according to Manchester Evening News.
“My second thought was what a great signing that would be for the player and Manchester United. It would be perfect.”
The former Sweden international added that, having seen Lindelof represent Benfica and the national team, he felt the center-half had all the qualities to be a top player for a club like United.
“He’s quick, confident with the ball, likes to play and is very strong. For United fans I think the best comparisons would be with Rio Ferdinand and Ronny Johnsen. I’m not saying he is at their level yet but he is very capable of getting there,” he said.
Manchester United were first linked with Lindelof back in May, and the speculation surrounding his impending arrival at Old Trafford has been building up since then. The situation has also changed considerably over the past couple of months, given United’s problems in defence.
The Red Devil’s best center-back so far this season in Eric Bailly is out with an injury currently and is soon set to join the Ivory Coast national team for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the turn of the year.
Englishman Chris Smalling is also out with an injury amidst reports that manager Jose Mourinho is not particularly pleased with his efforts for the club. This has forced the Portuguese manager to deploy the less than assured duo of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo at the back.
Manchester United have conceded 17 goals in 17 games, which reads for a very disappointing stat for a defensively astute manager in Mourinho. The club and manager are now in desperate need of a quality central defender to solve their problems at the back.
Lindelof would definitely not come cheap though, with Benfica expected to ask for a whopping €45 million to part with their star defender. However, this is unlikely to bother Mourinho or United too much, as the club doesn’t mind spending big to acquire top targets.