Mourinho the victor in race to sign Benfica's Lindelof

LONDON • Jose Mourinho kicked off his summer overhaul of Manchester United when the club announced on Saturday that it had "reached an agreement" with Benfica to sign Victor Lindelof.

The Portuguese side later confirmed that the deal was worth €35 million (S$54.19 million) and also included a €10 million bonus.

The 22-year-old, who can play in defence and in central midfield, is expected in Manchester after playing for Sweden against Norway in Oslo tomorrow.

With a fee agreed subject to international clearance, a medical and personal terms, Lindelof will become the club's most expensive defender, eclipsing Eric Bailly, who joined from Villarreal last year for £30 million (S$52.8 million).

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When the long-term deal is completed, Lindelof and Bailly - the only two centre-back signings by Mourinho at United- are expected to form a central defensive partnership.

Lindelof is a superb reader of the game, strong in the tackle and skilled in passing the ball when he wins possession.

The Sweden defender joined Benfica from hometown club Vasteras in 2012 and has won three Portuguese league titles and two Portuguese Cups during his time in Lisbon.

United are also in the market for a striker, having included Zlatan Ibrahimovic, sidelined by a serious knee injury, on their list of players due to be released on Friday.

No deal is yet in place for Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata, despite reports that a €70 million transfer has been finalised.

Spanish striker Morata is Mourinho's No. 1 attacking target and is closer to arriving at Old Trafford after telling his club he favours a move to United.

Complicating the deal, however, is the knowledge that once United open negotiations with Real, the Spanish club are likely to ask for the services of goalkeeper David de Gea.

Torino forward Andrea Belotti, valued at £70 million, and winger Ivan Perisic, for whom Inter Milan want £48 million, remain targets and United are monitoring midfielder Ross Barkley's situation at Everton.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'Mourinho the victor in race to sign Benfica's Lindelof'. Print Edition | Subscribe