Victor Lindeloff could be on his way to Manchester
Manchester United have opened discussions with Benfica over the January transfer of Sweden international Victor Lindelof.
According to sources familiar with the negotiations, Lindelof is first on a list of central defenders drawn up by Jose Mourinho to strengthen a back four that has proved problematic during the new Old Trafford manager’s initial months at the club.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has approved Mourinho’s request for a Champions League-level reinforcement, with significant funds allocated to both transfer fee and salary, report the Daily Record.
Benfica’s initial position has been to price Lindelof at €60million (£50 million), citing approaches from other leading European clubs and the difficulty of replacing the influential 22-year-old midway through the season.
The Portuguese champions rejected an offer of €35m (£30million) plus €10m (£8.4million) in performance-related variables in the summer window.
Lindelof in action for Sweden
Lindelof joined Benfica from Vasteras in 2011 as a Sweden under-17 international.
The 6ft2 centre back converted the decisive penalty in his country’s European Under-21 Championship Final victory over Portugal in 2015 and was included in UEFA’s team of the tournament.
In March, he received his first call up to the full national side, quickly establishing himself as an an ever-present in Sweden’s Euro 2016 line-ups.
Lindelof spent the majority of his first three seasons in Portuguese football operating as a right back, holding midfielder and centre back for Benfica’s B team.
First-team coach Rui Vitoria promoted the Swede to his starting line-up at the end of January, and he made 15 Liga appearances as the Lisbon club came from behind to retain their title.
Benfica have lost just once when Lindelof has started a domestic league or cup match for them.
Mourinho was permitted to make just one addition to United’s sub-standard defensive resources in the summer window, signing Cote d’Ivoire international Eric Bailly from Villarreal for an initial €35million fee.
Proposed moves for Southampton centre back Jose Fonte and AS Monaco’s versatile full back Fabinho fell through when United failed to make space in the Old Trafford squad by offloading surplus players
Mourinho’s scouts have also recommended a move for 1899 Hoffenheim’s young Germany international Niklas Sule.