Victor Lindelof: A Manchester United saga
Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira is expected to be in England today, as negotiations with Manchester United for the transfer of Victor Lindelof are said to be on.
Portuguese newspaper O Jogo is the one breaking the news, saying the talks are happening with the help of Jorge Mendes.
Lindelof’s agent is actually Fali Ramadali, but as Mendes has some good experience working with English clubs, Benfica would be using him to mediate the deal.
According to O Jogo, the Portuguese side would be looking to make €45m with the sale. That would be €40m from the transfer fee plus €5m in bonuses.
Does it make sense? No. Not a bit.
Victor Lindelof has a €30m release clause. That’s even mentioned in the article, even though they don’t say how Benfica could sell the player for more than this amount.
The defender is reportedly negotiating a new contract, which would raise this clause to €60m. But it hasn’t been signed yet, and O Jogo don’t make it clear if this agreement is close to happening or not.
They say ‘the process has been going forward for days’, but so it has been for months.
There have been claims in England that the €30m clause is only applicable in the summer window, but that hasn’t been the reporting of the situation in Portugal, hence the rush to get a new contract.
There’s every possibility Lindelof would be pressured to sign a new deal and help Benfica get more money. Whilst that may sound strange, Portuguese transfers aren’t often straightforward.
Another Portuguese newspaper, Record, also has a piece on Manchester United and Lindelof today. After taking claims from the English press to report José Mourinho’s interest, they say Luis Filipe Vieira isn’t looking for a sale right now.
Even the claimed €45m would be too little for him, and talks with other clubs would only happen after the new deal is signed.
Sport Witness has spoken to a source close to the Portuguese claims who said Luis Filipe Vieira is in England already, but there’s still uncertainty over how he could ask for more than the €30m clause.
The assumption is that a renewal is so close that Manchester United have a choice of €45m now or being pressed for the full €60m clause in the new contract, which would seem a ridiculous fee for Lindelof. From the player’s perspective, the incentive is more kickback for everyone involved if the deal goes through at €45m rather than €30m.
From the Portuguese end of the story there’s uncertainty over whether the clause is only applicable in the summer window. Those reporting the claims haven’t been able to have that backed up, having heard about it from English reports, but it’s not thought to be an issue because everyone is pushing for more anyway.
Manchester United links with Lindelof can be traced back to May, just before Jose Mourinho was named as the club’s new manager. Back then Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet claimed Manchester United had offered ‘250 miljoner kronor’, which worked out to be £20.5m.
At the time, Portuguese newspaper Record said Lindelof, who wasn’t one of Benfica’s most crucial players then, could leave for around €20m, which of course placed doubt on the offer.
The stories have built consistently since then, with Manchester United having an official present at almost every home Benfica match this season. It’s worth noting that through this scouting process, which is similar to Manchester United’s Benfica spying last season, several players have been linked.
Fans of the club will be well aware of the Nicolas Gaitain links, the failed Renato Sanches move, and Manchester United being linked to so many Benfica players in recent seasons that it’s reached double figures.
As for Luis Filipe Vieira flying to England for transfer talks, and Jorge Mendes being involved, that’s been a staple of Benfica transfer rumours for years. In 2015, the pair were said to be flying to England to complete Eduardo Salvio’s signing for Liverpool in ‘a matter of days’, and also flying in to sell Gaitan to Chelsea.
In July of this year, the club president was said to be in London to talk to Chelsea about Lindelof, the same week Mendes and Luis Filipe Vieira were in England to transfer Talisca to Wolves. A month later and the club boss was reportedly in London to hold transfer talks with Sunderland over Salvio, with it then claimed the Mackems had met Benfica’s €25m asking price.
Are Manchester United looking for a defender? Probably. Would Jorge Mendes help José Mourinho? Probably. Do Portuguese clubs like making a hell lot of money by selling their players? Yes. But there are still a few bits that don’t make sense in this story.
Victor Lindelof is 22 years of age and right footed. He’s broken through at Benfica playing as a central defender, but is also able to play at right-back. The Swedish international’s current contract lasts until 2020.