Virtual Football League
www.safaribet.com.gh
Football is always in action. Now you can bet on Virtual Football League
Virtual Horse Classics
www.safaribet.com.gh
Bet on a virtual horse classics. Choose your favorite and win!

Victor Lindelof signing reveals Mourinho's masterplan Featured

Written by 
Published in England Premier League
Sunday, 18 June 2017 09:26

The imminent captuire of Victor Lindelof says everything about what Jose Mourinho wants to accomplish at Manchester United, writes Jim White.

Never mind the buzz and glitter surrounding Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata, the fact that Manchester United’s first signing of the summer is set to be Victor Lindelof tells us much about Jose Mourinho’s priorities.

This is a manager who knows how to win the Premier League. And he knows the first essential element of any challenge is a pair of proper centre-backs. He had them in John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at Chelsea. He knows his history of Manchester United, aware they were at their most potent when they could rely on Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic or Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce. Above all he knew he was not going to win the league dependent on a combination drawn from Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind, the cohort he was bequeathed by Louis van Gaal.

His first move was to bring in Eric Bailly last season, who already looks the part. But Bailly needs a consistent, reliable partner. Now United have paid £31 million for Benfica’s Swedish centre-back Mourinho has two fine prospects still in their early twenties. Play these two in front of David De Gea and it could be the bedrock of a long-running saga, the cornerstone of a title-challenging team.
A fee of £31m, more than the United record for a defender paid out to bring Ferdinand in from Leeds in 2002, may seem a mighty steep price tag for what is essentially still a work in progress. Because make no mistake about it, Lindelof is not yet the finished article, with much to learn, not least about the intensity of a Premier League season, something of which he has no experience gliding away at the top of the Portuguese league.

But in these days of hyper transfer inflation, that is likely to become the price of admission we will see this summer for a decent player. Absurd as it sounds, if Virgil van Dijk is expected to change hands at north of £60m, £31m for Lindelof is as close to a bargain as the mad world of football finance allows.

Lindelof is a prospect all right. Quick, strong, the Swede is a brilliant modern defender, someone who has played extensively at full-back, as at home in a back three as a back four. Sophisticated, cultured and multilingual, he showed his ambition by moving to Portugal as a 17-year-old. In Sweden he is already reckoned the natural heir to Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the country’s most influential footballer. He has a girlfriend busy on Instagram promoting his image as level-headed, calm and unflash. When he turns out in a yellow shirt – as he did in this week’s derby international against Norway - he already has the look of a leader.
And what is particularly noteworthy about him is his experience. He is 22, but already has 73 first-team appearances behind him at Benfica, including 12 in the Champions League. If there is no better place to learn the game than in the heat of the first team, then Lindelof is already well ahead of many of his contemporaries making their way in the English game.

Over the weekend, England’s Under-20s won the World Cup. It was a magnificent performance, proof that when it comes to technique and potential, English players are at the front of the international queue. A brilliant win it might have been, but the reward for most of those who participated is likely to be a season-long loan at Derby. Or Reading. Or Preston.

This has now become the Premier League norm. Millions are channelled annually into youth development. But then, the most crucial part of a player’s learning curve – the graduation into the first team – is largely blocked off. Sure, Everton, Southampton and Tottenham have promoted more than most. But the standard methodology in the Premier League is to deal only with those who are close to the finished article. And to pay out accordingly.
Take Timothy Fosu Mensah at United. An outstanding prospect, full of pace and aggression, about to turn 20: what he needs most of all now to test his potential is an extensive run in the first team. It won’t happen at Old Trafford. Particularly not now Lindelof has been brought in ahead of him. While the Swede was given his chance in Benfica’s first team at 20, at the same age Fosu Mensah will find his progress stalled. Even if he stays at Old Trafford this season, the young Dutchman is unlikely to add many to the dozen games he has already played for the Reds.

And it is understandable why. The sheer financial pressure to succeed in England is such that youth cannot be risked. So instead, Premier League clubs use the European leagues for their research and development. Instead of blooding their own, they pay someone else £31m to complete a player’s education. Football’s new economic truth is that even an institution as storied as Benfica has become a feeder club for the English giants.

 

Read 59 times

Related items

  • Phil Jones banned, Daley Blind fined over breach of UEFA doping rules

    Phil Jones has been banned for two matches and Daley Blind fined by UEFA after the Manchester United pair were found guilty of breaching the governing body's doping regulations after the Europa League final in May.

    Jones was understood to have been verbally abusive towards a doping control officer after he was requested to attend drug-testing after the final in Stockholm on May 24, and will now miss the UEFA Super Cup match against Real Madrid next week and United's first Champions League group stage match in September. He has also been fined 5,000 euros (£4,450).
    It is understood Blind was reluctant to take a test as requested because he wanted to celebrate with his team-mates, whose 2-0 victory over Ajax ensured their qualification for this season's Champions League. He was fined 5,000 euros (£4,450).

    United have been fined 10,000 euros (£8,900) over the rule breaches.
    There is no suggestion that either player was guilty of doping.

    The club are understood to be aware of UEFA's decisions, and have three days to appeal against them. However, they have not yet indicated to UEFA whether they will or not.

  • Manchester United finally sign Nemanja Matic

    Manchester United have confirmed the signing of Nemanja Matic for a reported £40 million, bringing an end to a lengthy transfer saga.

    The Serbian midfielder, 28, has signed a three-year deal.

    The move reunites Matic with boss Jose Mourinho, who brought him back to Chelsea in 2014, and takes United’s summer spending to over £140 million following the arrivals of Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof.
    "Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player," Mourinho told the club’s official website.

    "I would like to thank him for his desire to join us because without that, it would be impossible to have him here. I am sure our players and supporters will love him. A big welcome to our new number 31."
    Matic won two Premier League titles under Mourinho during his second spell at Chelsea.

    He will be primarily tasked with freeing Paul Pogba, who has only shown flashes of brilliance since his world record move to Old Trafford.
    "I am delighted to have joined Manchester United. To work with Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down," Matic added.

    "I have enjoyed my time at Chelsea and would like to thank the club and the fans for their support. I cannot wait to meet my new team-mates and to start training with them.

    "This is a very exciting time for the club and I am looking forward to playing my part in creating more history for this great club."

  • Manchester United transfer rumours: Serge Aurier, Nemanja Matic and more

    The latest Man Utd transfer news and rumours from across the British and European press on Monday.

  • Jose Mourinho's vision persuaded Romelu Lukaku to join Manchester United

    Romelu Lukaku could not turn down the chance to join Manchester United after hearing Jose Mourinho's plan to "rebuild the club".

    Romelu Lukaku could not turn down the chance to join Manchester United after hearing Jose Mourinho's plan to "rebuild the club".

    For much of the summer it had appeared that the 24-year-old was bound to leave Everton for Chelsea, only for United to swoop in and gazump his former club.

    Mourinho was in charge when Lukaku was given the green light to leave Stamford Bridge, but three years on he now sees the striker as a key piece of the jigsaw at Old Trafford.

    United forked out an initial £75million for the Belgium international, whose mind was made up by his manager's plans rather than the persuasive powers of close friend Paul Pogba.
    "We were just on holiday together," Lukaku said of the United and France midfielder, who he was away with in Los Angeles as the move was completed.

    "At the end of the day I had to make my own choices. It was the conversation I had with the manager that really convinced me the most, the plans and how he wanted to rebuild the club and he wanted me to be part of it.

    "I am grateful for the chance."

    Lukaku has big boots to fill following the exit of injured top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the club's all-time leading marksman Wayne Rooney.

    However, the 24-year-old's impressive ratio for Everton suggests he is ready to step up at Old Trafford - and the striker is clearly raring to go.
    "It feels great (to be a United player)," Lukaku said in Washington. "It is something I always wanted.

    "I always wanted to play for a club of this stature. Now I am here I want to take my chance and try to deliver as much as I could for the club.

    "I don't want to talk about personal ambitions. I just want to work hard on a daily basis and win as many games as I can."

    Lukaku has certainly been made to work hard during United's American tour, training with his new team-mates for the first time within an hour of his move being made official.

    Mourinho has praised the new boy at nearly every public appearance after a promising start, following up his first goal in a United shirt at Real Salt Lake with a stunning effort in the 2-0 derby win against Manchester City.

    "It has gone well for the team," Lukaku said of the build-up to the 2017-18 season. "Everybody is well prepared.

    "We are working really hard and delighted to be here and we need to keep going."

  • Sergio Romero signs new Manchester United contract

    Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero has signed a contract extension, tying him to Old Trafford until 2021.

    Romero, 30, joined United on a free transfer in 2015 and has largely featured as David De Gea’s understudy.
    However, the Argentinian was selected ahead of the Spaniard for the Europa League final triumph over Ajax in May and has now committed his future to the club. He told United's official website:

    "Who wouldn’t want to be at the biggest club in the world? We have great goalkeepers here and we are always learning from each other. Of course, it was a very proud moment for me and my family to be part of the Europa League final, and I am looking forward to helping the team build on last season’s success in 2017/18."
    Romero has played 28 times for United, with just six of those appearances coming in the Premier League.

    "Sergio is a great goalkeeper and professional. He had a good season and outstanding performances, especially in our Europa League success," United boss Jose Mourinho added.

    "Sergio deserves his contract, and for Manchester United to have Sergio and David is amazing in such an important role."

    Real Madrid are reportedly primed to make another bid for David De Gea, although United are likely to rebuff their advances unless a suitable replacement becomes available.

Leave a comment

Football

African Football

Football Transfers

Virtual Football League
www.safaribet.com.gh
Football is always in action. Now you can bet on Virtual Football League

Sponsored Links

Virtual Football League
www.safaribet.com.gh
Football is always in action. Now you can bet on Virtual Football League

Like Us On Facebook

Formula 1

    Tennis

    Connect With Us

    Contact Us

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Our Sponsors

    JoomShaper