Man Utd set to seal €45m Lindelof signing

Jose Mourinho has earmarked the Sweden international as a key target ahead of the January transfer window and the Red Devils are now set to land the 22-year-old

Manchester United are set to secure the signature of Benfica defender Victor Lindelof for a fee of €45 million, Goal can confirm.

‘Man Utd’s future bright under Mourinho’

Jose Mourinho has earmarked the centre-back, who has won 11 caps for the Swedish national team, as a key target ahead of the January transfer window; with reports suggesting that the club’s scouting team have watched Lindelof extensively throughout the 2016-17 season.

Goal understands that United and Benfica have agreed a package that will see the Premier League club pay €40m up front for the 22-year-old, as well as a potential €5m in add-ons.

Lindelof is set to earn €3.5m-per-year over the course of a five-year contract at United, with a weekly wage of €67,000, having previously earned €200,000-per-year at Benfica.

The Portuguese club are set to turn a huge profit on Lindelof, after signing the player from Vasteras SK for a fee of €100,000 in late 2011.

Lindelof is set to play his final game for Benfica this week, against Rio Ave, after the club’s president Luiz Filipe Vieira travelled to England to finalise the details of the deal earlier this week. Vieira was accompanied by super-agent Jorge Mendes, who has United manager Jose Mourinho on his books as a client.

United’s deal for Lindelof has generated no shortage of intrigue, with former winger Jesper Blomqvist claiming that the player could become as good as Rio Ferdinand at Old Trafford.

“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,” he told the Manchester Evening News.

“My second thought was what a great signing that would be for the player and Manchester United. It would be perfect.

Worst Premier League Team of the Season so far

“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.”

United currently lie in sixth place ahead of the festive fixtures, 13 points behind leaders Chelsea and four behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Genk braced to lose Manchester United target Bailey

The Belgian side will do all they can to keep two key elements of their squad until the summer, but they admit that their challenge is a tough one

Genk technical director Dimitri de Conde has admitted that he is already looking to replace Leon Bailey and Wilfred Ndidi, who are wanted by Premier League sides Manchester United and Leicester respectively.

PSG closing in on Draxler and Rodriguez

The champions appear close to signing the 20-year-old Nigerian midfielder, but the Red Devils have also been credited with an interest in the 19-year-old Jamaican attacker, who could also be on the move come January.

“We’ll fight to keep them here until the end of this season, but that is no easy task,” De Conde told HLN. “If mega bids – by Belgian standards – are made, they we cannot reject it, and if the boys also feel ready for a step up then it will be very difficult to keep them in Genk.

“I must be ready with alternatives.”

The English clubs will not be allowed to sign the pair cheaply, though.

“In the category of players 20 or under, then these boys are absolutely top talents, so I think a fee of between €20-€25 million is certainly warranted,” he continued.

“The ideal scenario would be that we reach a deal in January with the interested clubs but the guys say here for the rest of the season. I’ll do that if I can.” 

Yaya: I want City to be bigger than United

Ndidi is already a Nigeria international, having been capped on six occasions. He has been a regular for Genk in the heart of their midfield, where he has turned out 33 times already in 2016-17, scoring two goals, and is considered as a potential replacement for N’Golo Kante at Leicester. 

Bailey, meanwhile, has featured on 31 occasions this season, proving his quality in front of goal by scoring eight times for his club, including seven in the Europa League. Moreover, the once-capped Jamaica international has provided nine assists for his team-mates from his favoured position out in the wide areas of the attack.

The teenager is already well travelled, having played football in Jamaica, Austria, Slovakia and Belgium, so a move to England would be unlikely to give him any fears.

Yaya: I want City to be bigger than United

The Ivory Coast international is back in the Pep Guardiola’s team and wants his side to replicate their rivals’ trophy-winning exploits

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure wants to eclipse Manchester United after earning a reprieve in his Eastlands career.

Toure’s decorated spell with City looked set to reach an unseemly end after a public spat between manager Pep Guardiola and the player’s agent Dimitri Seluk left him out of the first-team picture.

‘Lindelof is perfect for Manchester United’

The 33-year-old made a belated public apology and returned to City’s starting line-up in memorable style last month, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Guardiola’s men have won all four Premier League matches started by Toure this term, with the former Ivory Coast international playing a stylish, assured hand to lay the foundations for Sunday’s second-half turnaround against Arsenal.

Toure is out of contract at the club he joined in 2010 at the end of the current campaign but maintains he has unfinished business having regained form and match fitness – most notably making a dent in United’s record mark of 20 English titles.

“I came to this club to make history,” he told reporters. “I want this club to change, I want this club to be bigger than United. I know it’s going to be a lot of work, but that’s my dream.

“I have been lucky to play at big clubs – Barcelona, Olympiacos. Those teams were always used to being champions. But City, it was something different, something changing and I am happy now. Every single year we are always involved in the title race.

“Even though we lost, and something changed or something was bad, the following year the owner put more money into the club and got better players to make it better. That’s what I like, the challenge, I love a challenge.

“I want to make something very important. I already won two Premier League titles and I want more than that, another new story.”

Paris Saint-Germain closing in on Draxler and Rodriguez

Along with that brace of Premier League winners’ medals, Toure has also scored in FA Cup and League Cup triumphs at Wembley in 2011 and 2014, before scoring the decisive penalty as City regained the latter trophy in a shoot-out against Liverpool earlier this year.

And despite cutting a seemingly dejected figure at times over the past two seasons, when his commitment to the cause has been called into question, Toure insists he retains a youthful enthusiasm and deep affection for the club.

“I feel 20 now,” he added. “My role is to keep the team moving, win the ball, organise, talk to the players, I have the experience. We are a team that wants to play football but sometimes you have to tell the players to be careful, especially on the counter-attack.

“I belong on the field. But even if I’m not playing I want to be at the stadium to watch. I always want to progress. I will be fully prepared for any situation. I will give 100 per cent for this club, for these fans. These fans are the only ones who always sing my name, who give happiness to my family.

“If I can do more for them I will do it. I always fight to make the team one step better.”

'Mourinho best in the world and getting it right at Man Utd' – Saunders

The ex-Premier League striker feels the Red Devils have hit their stride and will start to work “like a machine” now that they have found form

Jose Mourinho remains “the best manager in the world” in the eyes of Dean Saunders, with the Portuguese having helped Manchester United to “turn the corner”.

The Red Devils endured a tough opening to the 2016-17 campaign, with a fast start followed by a frustrating period of inconsistency that led them to fall off the pace for a top-four spot.

‘Lindelof perfect for Man Utd’

Fortunes have improved of late, though, with four successive victories secured in all competitions.

Three in the Premier League have lifted United back to within four points of the Champions League places, with momentum building behind them.

Saunders expects the Mourinho “machine” to kick on from this point, but concedes that they have left themselves a lot of catching up to do on those edging clear at the summit.

He told Sky Sports News: “They’ve spent a lot of money and are just off the pace. They could put it right but I just think they’ll be disappointed with where they are lying right now.

“They’ve turned the corner. [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic is scoring every week, the two centre-backs look good, [Paul] Pogba’s looking like a different player on the left of a three-man midfield.

“They’re starting to look like one of Jose Mourinho’s teams, which are hard to play against. He’s starting to get it together.

Fellaini spotted in Milan

“Mourinho took a bit of criticism but I have to say he’s probably the best manager in the world so don’t underestimate what he’s doing behind the scenes.

“He’ll be getting that team functioning and before long it’ll be like a machine. Whether they’ve given themselves too much to do remains to be seen but there’s still a long way to go.”

United will be looking to stretch their winning run on Boxing Day when they welcome former boss David Moyes and his struggling Sunderland side to Old Trafford.

'Not every Swede is Zlatan, but Lindelof is perfect for Man Utd' – Blomqvist

The former Red Devils winger is backing his countryman to be a success at Old Trafford if a proposed move in January is pushed through

Victor Lindelof would be ‘perfect’ for Manchester United, according to his fellow Swede and former Red Devils winger Jesper Blomqvist.

The 22-year-old centre-half is being heavily linked with a big-money move to Old Trafford during the January transfer window, with a €45 million (£37.8m) deal being mooted.

Man Utd set for Lindelof talks

United are reportedly ready to open talks with the player, with Goal revealing on Monday that Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira was due in Manchester to talk terms.

A January switch is seemingly on the cards, with Jose Mourinho aware of the need to bolster his defensive ranks – with Eric Bailly due to jet off on Africa Cup of Nations duty in the new year.

Blomqvist is confident his countryman will be a success in English football – with the potential there for him to become the next Rio Ferdinand – but has warned that ‘not every Swede is Zlatan Ibrahimovic’.

He told the Manchester Evening News: “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.

Who is Man Utd target Victor Lindelof?

“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.”

The 1999 Treble winner added: “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.

“I think making the decision to go to Portugal at that age and making a success of it and then doing what he did for the [Sweden] U21s shows the character of the player.

RUMOURS: Utd to raid Benfica again

“Obviously, a move to Manchester United is a different level again. Not every Swede is Zlatan Ibrahimovic — but you get the feeling that Victor would handle it OK.”

Lindelof has only made 49 senior appearances for Benfica, netting one goal, but has already graced the Portuguese top-flight, the Champions League and Euro 2016.