Reports: Manchester United close to finalizing €95 million deal for defensive duo
What’s the story?
Benfica duo Victor Lindelof and Nelson Semedo are on the verge of moving to Manchester United, according to a report in British news outlet Express. The Portuguese club’s President, Luis Filipe Vieira, has reportedly landed in Manchester with a view to hashing out a deal that will see Jose Mourinho’s side part with a staggering €95 million for the pair.
The Red Devils came close to signing Victor Lindelof in the January transfer window, but Benfica held off to keep a hold of their star man, even rejecting a €44 million bid. Nelson Semedo had also rejected a move in January, saying “I'm completely focused on Benfica and I'm hoping to continue here for many years to come.”
The heart of the matter
Benfica’s rejection of Manchester United’s bid in January could net them an additional €16 million, as Lindelof went on to extend his contract with the Portuguese club until 2021. The Eagles insisted on a €60 million release clause, which United are likely to trigger.
Jose Mourinho is desperate to sign the Swedish centre-back, especially after Zlatan Ibrahimovic recommended signing Lindelof with a view to strengthening the Red Devil’s injury-prone backline. United were reportedly reluctant to pay the full amount of the Benfica defender’s release clause, but have funds to spare now that they have lost out on the chase for Atletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann, with the Rojiblancos’ transfer ban making them unlikely to sell in this window.
According to the report, Benfica have placed a €35 million price tag on Nelson Semedo, with Jose Mourinho left suitably impressed by his performances for the Portuguese national team. It would make the defender the second-most expensive right back of all time, narrowly behind the €35.5 million Barcelona parted with to sign Dani Alves from Sevilla.
Manchester United’s deep pockets mean that they will almost always pay above market value for any signing they make in the foreseeable future. However, given Lindelof’s impressive displays for Benfica this season, it is likely that he will justify his staggering fee, especially given that Manchester United are in need of reinforcement at the back, despite what results Mourinho has managed to achieve with a relatively defensive system this season.