Victor Lindelof was missing from SL Benfica’s squad on Tuesday night for their game against Vizela raising more questions over his future.
It was the second match in succession which Lindelof wasn’t involved in and there have been no reports suggesting he is injured, more that he was simply rested over the festive period.
From Manchester United’s point of view, there hasn’t been much movement at all. Jose Mourinho is yet to comment directly on Lindelof and it is believed the surge in form of both Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo has made it less of a necessity for Mourinho to bring in defensive reinforcement this January – even with Eric Bailly going to the African Cup of Nations.
The Portuguese press are still adamant a deal is on the table just like they have been since the very beginning and Benfica president Felipe Luis Vieira has also confirmed this week that Lindelof’s contract does contain a release clause.
Speaking about the Swedish defender, he said: “Lindelof is a Benfica player with a contract which contains a termination clause. Let’s wait.
“At this moment we do not want to sell any of our players except, of course, if a proposal that serves the interests of Benfica and the player arises.”
As it currently stands, Benfica are certainly not ruling out a move for Lindelof and Vieira openly admitting he does indeed have a release clause is effectively him encouraging a bid. If one comes in matching that release clause, Lindelof can leave – it’s as simple as that.
The only question is whether Mourinho wants to spend big in January on a defender or if he is now confident with the defensive options he’s got at his disposal between now and the end of the year. With injury prone players like Jones or Smalling part of his choices, it would certainly be a bit of a risk to stick only with what he’s currently got.
When the Lindelof to United stories emerged in the Portuguese press they sold it as a deal which was almost done already. As it transpired, that was somewhat premature but the stories are certainly still there, bubbling away, waiting to see if Lindelof does indeed complete his move to Old Trafford this January.