Barcelona are reportedly set to rival Manchester United in the summer pursuit of SL Benfica duo Victor Lindelof and Nelson Semedo.
Spanish publication Sport have revealed that Barcelona are showing interest in SL Benfica duo Victor Lindelof and Nelson Semedo. The duo were both linked to a January departure to Manchester United, who are still considered favourites to land the duo. But, Barcelona’s entry might complicate things for the Red Devils.
The report reveals that Barcelona are keeping tabs on three of Benfica’s young but impressive stars – Victor Lindelof, Nelson Semedo and Ederson Moraes. Ederson Moraes is a keeper who has been linked with the Catalans as well as Manchester, albeit the blue half.
But, it is the report of Barcelona’s interest in Lindelof and Semedo that has caught the attention of all the major newspapers. Few members of the technical cabinet for Barcelona attended SL Benfica’s home game against Nacional, one they ended up winning 3-0.
It is reported that Barcelona’s priority is Nelson Semedo, the right-back who seems to have one foot towards Old Trafford already, with Manchester United reported to have an agreement in principle for the summer transfer of the Portuguese wideman.
United have been struggling to find a natural player to fill the right-back position with Matteo Darmian not able to lock down the place under Jose Mourinho, who has chosen Antonio Valencia as his first choice instead.
— Liga NOS (@PortugueseLiga) February 7, 2017
Lindelof on the other hand, was even closer to a move to United, with reports that a payout to Lindelof’s mother club is what was holding up the deal. The transfer has since failed to materialise but United are still looking to snap him up in the summer. A centre-half is unlikely to be Barcelona’s priority, though, they may need one to add depth.
Luis Enrique already has Samuel Umtiti, Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu and Gerard Pique as the first-team centre-backs with Marlon Santos also involved with the first-team setup. But, the Barcelona boss might want another addition to buff up the defence, which has struggled against many sides this season.
Mourinho wants a defender to partner Eric Bailly in the middle of the defence and Lindelof seems to have been prioritised as a viable addition. Chelsea, too have been linked with both Semedo and Lindelof, and perhaps rightly so.
The Blues have an ageing central defence and are short on options at the back, with Conte deploying a back three while, even though Victor Moses has done a remarkable job at the right wingback position, the player being a more natural winger is somewhat sold short on the defensive front, something which Semedo can remedy.
Manchester United face competition from Barcelona for Benfica pair Victor Lindelof and Nelson Semedo.[The Sun]. pic.twitter.com/YwtFHU4M9v
— Transfer Daily (@TransferDaily3) February 7, 2017
Semedo has experience of playing both as a right-back and a right midfielder, which would make him the perfect one to play as a wingback. Manchester United, though, seemed to be in pole position to land the duo of Lindelof and Semedo. But, both the deals look to be heading towards jeopardy now.
United may still hold the lead but the margins are getting slimmer by the day.
As has been the case with several priority Manchester United targets, the Red Devils face the prospect of losing out on two more of them. And Mourinho, unlike others, will not begrudge the board if they lose out on these players, especially to either of Chelsea or Barcelona, both which are a part of his managerial history.