There’s been a lot of news that’s come out over the last few days that Lindelof is set to be Jose’s first signing in the January Transfer Market.
As we know, Lindelof plays for Benfica and is predominantly a Centre Back but can cover for Right Back if needed. There’s been plenty of speculation, and if you’re like me you want to find out two things; one – what he’s going to offer United in defence? (and more importantly) two – will he be an improvement on players we already have?
What’s he going to offer us? Let’s start with the positives. Firstly, he’s a ball playing defender and can carry the ball out of defence and find a pass more often than not. This is the same attribute of John Stones, but this attribute is precarious and has cost Man City goals already this season for taking unnecessary risks. However if done properly can set the attack up very quickly and get the transition of play up the pitch fluid and direct which has been proven effective in the Premiership. We’ve seen many Prem teams trying to play out the back but it’s still a new concept and teams are conceding goals because of it. He’s 6’2” and is good in aerial battles. His last ditch tackling is accurate and has gotten Benfica out of some difficult situations. He’s also a strong, powerful defender which is needed in the premier league to defend against teams going route one into the box.
Onto some negatives; he’s not very quick and many of the strikers in the Portuguese Primiera Liga get past him without too many problem by simply knocking the ball past him and running, however he does recover it with an accurate ‘last ditch’ tackle. Coupled with Bailly’s pace at the back, could this be a partnership that works? £68 mil for the pair, you’d like to think so! I think it’d be better to get a defender who can defend effectively as a base standard, and if he has the ability to play out from the back as well then it’s a bonus. Victor I fear, is not that player.
Is he an improvement? Lindelof is reportedly going to cost us £38mil, and for that fee I don’t see much of an improvement on what we already have despite all the hype in the media. We already have Bailly, Smalling, Blind, Rojo and Jones in defence. That will be 6 defenders in the first team, are we in danger of hoarding too many defenders? If he is signed we certainly have to offload at least one possibly two defenders. Could that be potentially why Rojo and Jones have been put in the shop window and playing very well recently?
We also have Axel Tuanzebe who receives Man of the Match regularly for U23’s at only 19 years old. Axel is strong in all areas of defence and not many people are aware that he plays the ball out from the back for the U23’s too. If and when Lindelof is signed for £38mil there will be 6 defenders ahead of him in the first team and the chances of Axel getting a first team opportunity is close to none. Performing ahead of his peer’s week in week out he is simply too good for Premier League 2 and either needs first team football or a loan deal to another Premiership team.
From the clips I have watched, I haven’t been too impressed (for £38mil) with what I’ve seen from Lindelof and truly believe Tuanzebe is a better defender and would cost us nothing! It would also give Jose the ‘promoting youth players’ tick in the box and please the fans. It’s as quick a win for Jose as selling Fellaini!
In Jose we trust though, especially judgement in defenders, and I really hope Lindelof (if signed) proves doubters like me wrong.