Manchester United close in on first January signing after agent and club chiefs hold talks



Posted Wednesday, December 21, 2016 by Express.co.uk

Manchester United close in on first January signing after agent and club chiefs hold talks
Jose Mourinho is closing in on the signing of Victor Lindelof

MANCHESTER UNITED are closing in on their first January signing after holding talks with Benfica for Victor Lindelof.

Jose Mourinho is keen to add to his squad next month and has identified Lindelof as his priority signing.

The Sweden defender has impressed as Benfica top the Portuguese league and finished second in their Champions League group.

The club were keen to keep hold of Lindelof, 22, until the end of the season due to their involvement in the Champions League.

But he now looks likely to join Manchester United next month for around £38million.

Reports in Portugal yesterday claimed that Luis Felipe Vieira and super agent Jorge Mendes had held talks with United in London, and the move now looks to be edging closer.

Mourinho's defence has been patchy since he took over at Old Trafford but he seems to have found the right formula with Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones in recent weeks.

They have kept three clean sheets in their last four games in all competitions and have moved closer to the Champions League places.

However their goal difference of seven remains way below any of their rivals.

Mourinho signed Eric Bailly for £30million in the summer and he started well, but suffered an injury in the defeat to Chelsea and has only just returned to the side.

Bailly is also heading to the Africa Cup of Nations in January leaving United short of options.

Mourinho has been critical of Chris Smalling, who was also injured in the Chelsea defeat, and his future at the club is uncertain.

Daley Blind is not Mourinho's ideal centre-half due to his lack of height and presence.

Lindelof's addition would take Mourinho's spending close to £200m after the arrivals of Bailly, Henrik Mkhitaryan and world record signing Paul Pogba.

United are also expected to trim some fringe players from the squad with Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay expected to depart.

There is also interest in Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian and Marouane Fellaini.

Bastian Schweinsteiger's future is also uncertain after his return to the first team fold. Mourinho hinted recently that he could stay beyond January despite being told to leave in the summer.

"I am quiet and calm and see what happens," Mourinho said last week. "As I was saying I would like to keep my squad the same.

"But as a manager I never feel I have the right to stop people being happier or try to give a different direction for their careers.

"If the conditions are right for the club and that moment arrives in the months of January then we will have to react. Let's see what happens.

"But if you ask me in this moment am I waiting for someone to be here on the January 1, or are we chasing some player because on that date we want a new player? Not at all.

"I like my squad. I trust my squad."

But former Manchester United defender Gary Neville expects Mourinho to have a busy month.

"I think Jose Mourinho will want to do big business in the next couple of transfer windows," he said on Sky Sports.

"I think to shift the mentality of the whole squad he'll still need to do some more."



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