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20th Dec 2016

Manchester United set to spend up to £80m on Benfica duo


Nooruddean Choudry

The case for the defence.

Any successful team is built on an assured and reliable defence, and no one knows that better than Jose Mourinho. Despite an encouraging run of results of late, his Manchester United team are still very much in state of transition. And no where is that more apparent than in the backline.

Following various injuries and forced changes, Mourinho has stumbled upon an unlikely combination of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo (yes, that Marcos Rojo) which seems to work…for now. The former is always just a game away from his next injury, whilst the latter is a red card waiting to happen.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

This, along with the fact that Eric Bailly will be most likely be off to the African Cup of Nations in mid-January, makes defensive recruits something of a priority come the winter transfer window. With that in mind, United’s scouts have been watching Benfica very closely in recent weeks.

According to a number of stories in the Portuguese press, a deal to bring 22-year-old central defender Victor Lindelöf to Old Trafford in January is pretty much wrapped up. A Bola, Record and O Jogo all report pretty much as fact that the Swedish stopper is joining in January.

The deal is said to be worth an initial £38m, but could rise to £50m with a number of further clauses. But Lindelöf may not be the only Benfica player on his way to Manchester. His 23-year-old teammate Nélson Semedo is also on Mourinho’s most wanted list, although he won’t arrive straight away.

The expectation, according to Record, is that negotiations are ongoing regarding the fleet-footed Portuguese right-back and that his transfer will most likely occur in the summer, for a rumoured £30m.