Victor Lindelof starter pack: all you need to know about Manchester United’s £31m ice man

Victor Lindelof Manchester United

July 1st 2017 will mark the start of a new chapter in the life of Victor Lindelof. The Swedish international centre-back will formally complete his move to Manchester United and link up with the squad ahead of their pre-season trip to USA, where he will make his debut.

Whispers of a move to Old Trafford have been around for some time – several months in fact, with a deal reportedly close to taking place in January. But, finally, the £31 million move is complete. Lindelof moves from Benfica to United, signing a four-year contract with an option for a further year. 

For many unfamiliar with the Portuguese Primeira Liga, Victor Lindelof will be something of an unknown quantity. For those of you who follow us on Just Football, however, his name might ring a bell. 

Part of our #JF70 Class of 2017, Victor Lindelof was named by Just Football as one of the 70 best young talents to watch in Europe this season. Every year we select 10 players age 22 or under from the big seven leagues (France, Italy, Spain, England, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands) and track their progress over the year. Lindelof was part of our Portuguese league 10 talents, which you can read here

Prior to that, and going even further back, Lindelof was mentioned in our detailed coverage of the UEFA Under-21 European Championships in 2015, a tournament we covered live from Czech Republic at the time.

Despite being 15/1 rank outsiders Sweden went on to win that tournament – their first at Under-21 level. Lindelof showed why he is nicknamed the ‘Ice Man’ by keeping his cool to score the winning penalty in the shootout, as Sweden beat Portugal in the final. 

From there, interest has steadily grown in Lindelof. As such, having named him as one of the Portuguese league’s best young players, in January we brought you a full profile of Lindelof’s entire career to date, taking in his journey from the depths of the Swedish third division to the Champions League with Benfica.

At this time, the Manchester United rumours were growing stronger by the day. 

Finally, the deal has now gone through. And when news of the transfer broke, Just Football editor Jonathan Fadugba appeared on the Nordic Football Podcast to discuss this site’s coverage of Lindelof, as well as the games he has seen him play, his characteristics, style of play and those Michael Keane comparisons made by Sky Sports pundit Ray Wilkins (listen to the first 10 minutes or so for Lindelof talk). 

With the deal now done, Jose Mourinho had this to say of his new man:

“Victor is a very talented young player, who has a great future ahead of him at United. Our season last year showed us that we need options and quality to add depth to the squad and Victor is the first to join us this summer. I know that our fantastic group of players will welcome him as one of us.”

While 22-year-old Lindelof said:

“I am thrilled to be joining Manchester United. I have enjoyed my time at Benfica enormously and I have learned a lot there. But I’m looking forward to playing in the Premier League at Old Trafford and for Jose Mourinho. I’m keen to get started and make my contribution to the team’s efforts to win more trophies.”

Lindelof is expected to make his debut on United’s pre-season tour to USA, and fans will no doubt be eager to see him in action, and what kind of partnership he forms with Eric Bailly (or Phil Jones or Chris Smalling?) in the years to come.

To stay up-to-date on the best young upcoming stars of world football follow Just Football on Twitter @JustFootball or Facebook, and stick with us for football news, views and analysis around the global game.

Main image credit: Manchester United via Twitter.

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