Barcelona have reportedly set their sights on Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof as an alternative for Ajax sensation Matthijs de Ligt.
According to a report from Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, La Liga champions Barcelona are lining up a summer transfer for Manchester United star Victor Lindelof, as they have decided to give up on their pursuit of Ajax captain Matthis de Ligt.
Barcelona had long been linked with a move for de Ligt, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirming their interest in the teenage sensation back in March. However, their pursuit of the 19-year-old has hit a brick wall with the likes of PSG and Juventus emerging as potential destinations for the Dutchman.
As per latest reports, de Ligt has even agreed terms with Juventus, which has left Barcelona seeking alternatives to boost their defence ahead of next season. And as per Mundo Deportivo, the Catalans have identified Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof as the ideal alternative for the Netherlands international.
Lindelof, 24, came through the ranks at Swedish club Vasteras before making a name for himself during his time with Portuguese giants Benfica. After spending two years in Portugal, Lindelof joined Manchester United in the summer of 2017 in a €35 million deal.
Lindelof endured a difficult debut campaign in England, but has grown in stature over the past year, establishing himself as the most reliable defender at Manchester United. The 2018-19 campaign saw the Swedish international turn out 40 times in all competitions, scoring and assisting a goal apiece.
In a season wherein the entire Manchester United defence struggled for consistency, Lindelof was solid and dependable at the back, highlighting the growth he has had after a debut season filled with difficulties in abundance. So, it is no wonder that Barcelona are eyeing a move for the 24-year-old.
The La Liga champions have a well-stacked defensive unit with Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti as the frontline options, along with the young Jean-Clair Todibo and former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen. However, Barcelona are keen on grooming a long-term heir for Pique which had initially led them to de Ligt; but now they are eyeing Lindelof.
The report adds that Barcelona had approached Manchester United earlier this month over the potential sale of Lindelof, but they were met with a firm refusal from the 20-time English champions. Since then, the Catalans have had contact with the Red Devils on multiple times, although their stance has understandably not changed.
Lindelof is contracted with Manchester United till the summer of 2021, with an option to extend the deal by another 12 months. Given their current situation, it is extremely unlikely that they would want to offload the Swede who was their best defender by a mile. As far as Barcelona are concerned, it seems like they will have to look elsewhere to boost their defensive ranks.