Victor Lindelof to Old Trafford is very much still a thing in Portugal, with O Jogo saying on Sunday the defender has been ‘very close to transferring to Manchester United’.
That’s why he skipped a couple of Benfica’s recent matches since Christmas, with the club leaving him out of the line of danger. Should a transfer to Manchester United go through then it’s a big financial boost for Benfica so they’ll encourage a deal.
However, Lindelof played on Saturday night, with Benfica manager Rui Vitoria quizzed after the match over why the defender was in the team if he’s close to a move.
Vitoria explained: “The players know that if there is no money they will not be able to play elsewhere. If this distracts them, they are on the wrong track. We are not afraid to put players to play [in this situation] because they are prepared for it.”
Very much a ‘show me the money’ message to Manchester United.
But what is really going on?
Well, on Saturday, in yet another Lindelof article, we suggested this: ‘What seems to be the case with Lindelof, reading between the lines, is that Benfica learned of some level of Manchester United interest and then built a deal and presented it to Ed Woodward and co.
Manchester United then likely baulked at paying more than the player’s release clause, also voiced concerns about Benfica trying to cheat Vasteras, Lindelof’s former club, out of a sell-on clause, and told the Portuguese club they weren’t really that desperate for a defender anyway.
Not to give up, Benfica then sorted out the situation with Vasteras, kept Lindelof out of the past two games (he’s actually back in the team playing on Saturday night), and hoped that a stroke of luck would come their way. A Phil Jones injury is now surely overdue, and that would have helped push the deal along.’
Of course, Marcos Rojo’s injury has given a boost to the stories, and maybe a boost to the potential transfer too.