Who Is Victor Lindelof? Everything You Need To Know About Benfica’s Wanted 22-Year-Old
Posted by Jordan Clarke | Published on December 20, 2016
The story broke this week that Manchester United have targetted 22-year-old defender Victor Lindelof from Benfica for a fee in the region of £30million. The Swede looks set to arrive in Manchester in January as José Mourinho looks to bolster his defensive options after Chris Smalling’s injury prone start to the season, along with Summer signing Eric Bailly traveling to the African Cup of Nations.
Manchester United hold talks with Benfica over 22-year-old Victor Lindelof. https://t.co/yAO8Z2bj9E
— From The Stands (@FromTStands) December 20, 2016
Name: Victor Jörgen Nilsson Lindelöf
Place Of Birth: Västerås, Sweden
Date Of Birth: 17 July 1994
Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Preferred Foot: Right
Born in Västerås, Sweden, the 22-year-old dons the number 14 for Portuguese side S.L. Benfica and can play in either central-defensive or out wide as a right-back. As a youth, Lindelof played for clubs such as IK Franke, Västerås IK and Västerås SK. He made 41 appearances for Västerås SK before Benfica sought after his signature at the age of 17. On the 1st December 2011, Lindelof moved to Portugal where he signed with Benfica and played in their youth side, winning the Portuguese under-19 Championships in the 2012-2013 season. In October 2013, Lindelof made his first senior appearance for the club, winning 1-0 against CD Cinfães, a game in which he played 90 minutes, keeping a clean-sheet. In 2015, he was in UEFA’s Under-21 European Championship team of the tournament after converting the winning penalty against Portugal. He scored his first goal for Benfica in February 2016, in a 3-1 win over Paços de Ferreira.
The centre-half stands at 6ft, 2inches, meaning he provides an aerial threat at both ends of the pitch and with Mourinho adding height into his inherited Manchester side, Lindelof would fit right into Mourinho’s criteria. He has won 29 out of his 49 aerial duels in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season, [data from squawka] and has completed 676 successful passes, 50 being with his head. In addition, he has created 5 chances for his team-mates this season, which is a key trait considering he plays at centre-back. His disciplinary record is superb, not having picked up a yellow card this season, suggesting his timing of tackles is spot-on and if that wasn’t enough, he has played 100% of available game-time in the league this season, so he’s far from a hypochondriac.
To be valued at £30million at 22 years old, Manchester United must be dead certain he’s one for the future, and ex-international team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes so and has said Lindelof is capable of playing for a top club:
“I think Victor is doing great things and he is playing great for Benfica, he gets a lot of responsibility for the national team now & is growing.”
‘Is he good enough for Manchester United? I think he’s good enough for the big clubs. It’s up to him what he wants and what the situation says. Whatever he chooses will be good for him.
“I know he is hot on the market so let him make the right choice, what fits him good.”
The praise for the 22-year-old doesn’t stop there, former-Manchester United treble winner, Jesper Blomqvist. Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Blomqvist said:
‘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.
“My second thought was what a great signing that would be for the player and Manchester United. It would be perfect.”
“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’s a mature player and a mature person. One thing I do like about him is that he hasn’t gone an easy route with his career.”
FUN FACT: An astonishing stat about the Swede is that in all six of Benfica’s Champions League group-stage fixtures this season, not one player has dribbled past him.
Lindelof is his ‘no-nonsense’ style of defending is mixed with his composure on the ball. He isn’t afraid to send on into row-zed at almost any occasion, but he can also pick out a pass. Perhaps his composure on the ball needs a little improving, but Nemanja Vidic perfectly complemented Rio Ferdinand’s style of play, much like Eric Bailly can compliment Victor Lindelof. Another weakness of the centre-half is man-marking. He prefers to mark the space, and Jose Mourinho’s man to man defending may be an adjustment he needs to make to his game.
Lindelof’s agent is Jorge Mendes, who is also the agent of Jose Mourinho, giving Manchester United a huge boost in the race to land the Swede’s signature due to Mourinho and Mendes’ relationship. The expected asking price from Benfica is around £30million and other than the fee, the only other thing standing in the way of the deal is Chelsea’s speculated interest, as the Blues could tempt Lindelof with their astonishing Premier League campaign this season.
Still want to know more? Check out this video from ScoutNation on Lindelof’s performances from last season.