One of football’s longest-running ‘will they, won’t they’ sagas is officially over, with Manchester United confirming they’ve secured the services of Victor Lindelof from Benfica for a fee believed to be around £30.7m.
So, what can Red Devils fans expect from their club’s latest marquee signing?
Well, first off, he fits into Jose Mourinho’s ethos of building a stronger and more imposing United side, with the Portuguese having also added the likes of Paul Pogba and Eric Bailly to what had previously been a fairly lightweight United side.
Lindelof is extremely powerful, dominant in the air – defensively at least – and tough in the tackle, but he’s also a composed and classy player of the ball.
While he’ll have to do something special to enjoy the legendary status of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, the 6 ft 2 in centre-back is a kind of hybrid of those two club legends, in terms of his defensive style.
Having made his debut aged just 16 for hometown club Vasteras SK in 2010, the Swede went on to play 40 more times for his boyhood side, before joining Benfica in 2012 following a series of remarkably assured displays.
Initially playing in the Aguias’ ‘B’ team, he quickly established himself as one of the second tier’s top performers, before eventually breaking into the first-team in the 2015-16 campaign, aged 21.
He helped Benfica to seven clean sheets in the 15 league games he played that term, as well as producing a pair of dominant displays against Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League, keeping the prolific Artem Dzyuba in his pocket in both legs.
Increasingly good in possession, both in holding up the ball and neat distribution, he helped the Portuguese giants lift the league title last term, as they conceded just 18 goals in 34 games (15 in 32 or 0.47 per game, with the 22-year-old in the side).
And while Mourinho might hope to see the youngster nod home a few more goals given his aerial prowess, he also showed an ability for the sublime, slotting home a brilliant low free-kick against Sporting Lisbon in April’s derby meeting.
That’s something he’ll likely build on at Old Trafford, ahead of a move which appears to be happening at the perfect time.
With the Vasteras native now boasting two years’ worth of Champions League experience as well as helping Aguias to a league and cup double last term, he’s proven himself on the big occasion. United’s job now is to help him develop and find the ideal centre-back partner for him.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing