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Victor Lindelöf at Manchester United: A 5 Year Review And Look To The Future

Harry Greenwood

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Victor Lindelöf at Manchester United: A 5 Year Review And Look To The Future

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Today marks five years since Manchester United signed Victor Lindelöf from Benfica for an initial fee of £31m, with the central defender having a mixed career so far at Old Trafford.

The 27 year-old Swede was signed in 2017 having displayed an exceptional level of talent in both Liga NOS and the Champions League.

This talent, combined with his age, which was 22 at the time of his signing, warranted a high level of excitement and expectation.

Victor Lindelöf at Benfica in 2017. (Alamy)
Victor Lindelöf at Benfica in 2017. (Alamy)

The turbulent nature of the club over the last five years has perhaps had the biggest hand in Lindelöf failing to fully live up the expectations that were laid out at the time of his transfer.

He has appeared 196 times for the Reds across all competitions, with 139 of these appearances coming in the Premier League and 22 in the Champions League.

Since his transfer to the club in 2017, the Swede has generally been a starting centre back, whether under Mourinho, Solskjaer or Rangnick, with Harry Maguire’s record arrival in 2019 seeing the beginning of a staple partnership between the two.

Raphael Varane’s arrival at Old Trafford at the beginning of the 2021/22 season seemed to mark the end for this partnership however, injuries to the French World Cup winner saw Lindelöf retain his place in the side for much of the ill-fated campaign.

Last season saw Lindelöf concede 43 goals in his 28 Premier League appearances, a record that doesn’t offer the levels of confidence a coach would want from a centre back when challenging at the top end of the table.

When compared with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Ruben Dias, two defenders competing for the titles that United should themselves be aiming for, Lindelöf's form simply hasn’t been at the level required.

Victor Lindelöf in 2021/22. (Alamy)
Victor Lindelöf in 2021/22. (Alamy)

While this season’s form hasn’t been of the level required by a team of Manchester United’s ambition, it would be rash to claim that Lindelöf doesn’t have anything to offer the team going forward under Erik ten Hag.

The Swede is still only 27, with plenty of years left in his career, meaning that he could become a key part of the Ten Hag project at Old Trafford.

This, coupled with the experience the player has both at the club and in major competitions, ties into the idea of Lindelöf being an effective player ready to be utilised by Ten Hag should he be required.

Rumours surrounding interest in adding a centre-back to the squad however could see Lindelöf shift down to fourth in the pecking order, with Raphaël Varane and Harry Maguire both likely to start ahead of the Swede.

This being said, United will be competing in the four competitions; The Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League.

This, alongside the international commitments of the aforementioned players, will create the need for rotation in the squad, meaning Lindelöf could be a vital squad member in the push for silverware.

It can be said therefore that, while Lindelöf may not be the backbone of United’s defence in heavyweight clashes, he will ultimately become an extremely important player across the 2022/23 campaign as injuries hit and rotation is required.

Topics: Manchester United, Football, Victor Lindelof, Erik Ten Hag, Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Premier League

Harry Greenwood
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