4 winners and 3 losers from Victor Lindelöf's new Manchester United contract
Victor Lindelöf has followed in the footsteps of David de Gea and signed a new long-term contract with Manchester United, keeping him at the club until at least June 2024. There is an option to extend for a further year.
The club confirmed the deal on Wednesday with Lindelöf saying: “Since the day I arrived at United it has felt like home. I have grown significantly both as a player and as a person in the last two years and for that I am grateful to everyone at the club for their help and support.
“I love playing football and my aim now is to help the team to win trophies and repay the fans for their unrivalled support.”
After the De Gea renewal announcement on Monday, United fans are rightly delighted that two key parts of the club’s backline have committed their futures to the Red Devils. Here is a look at the winners and losers from the deal…
Harry Maguire: The partnership between Lindelöf and Harry Maguire has all the makings to become one of the best in Europe. Solskjaer will be hoping that with De Gea’s future assured and the partnership between Maguire and Lindelöf blossoming, United have a defensive spine that could get them challenging for major honours once again during his tenure.
Two clean sheets in five games is a steady start for a new look United defence, Lindelöf who joined United from Benfica in 2017 will benefit from the leadership and quality the worlds most expensive defender will bring.
Sweden: Swedish national team coach Janne Andersson will be delighted that his highest profile player will continue to ply his trade in the toughest league in the world.
Lindelöf’s experience of playing in the biggest matches and competitions will be invaluable in the years ahead for Andersson’s dressing room, especially when he is looking for his leaders on the pitch to set the example.
United’s number two has already represented his country 31 times and will be hoping to play a pivotal part in ensuring they qualify for next summers European Championships, without any distraction.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: What a few days it has been for Solskjaer, first De Gea and now Lindelöf. If the Norwegian ever needed further evidence that the players believe in his ability to lead them back to the very top, he got it this week.
Solskjaer will be delighted that his young and talented first choice defence are all tied down for the years ahead, he will now be focused on using that strong backline as a base to build a formidable team that can compete with Manchester City and Liverpool.
Despite a mixed start to the season, Solskjaer has shown that he believes in Lindelöf’s qualities and sees him and Maguire as the club’s first choice centre half pairing. The faith appears to be mutual.
Manchester United fans: After numerous failed attempts to find a defensive partnership in the same ilk as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, United fans will be hoping that the new contract for Lindelöf and the signing of Maguire means that years of an unsettled backline are no more.
With the leadership and commanding presence that Maguire brings alongside Lindelöf’s composure in possession and ability to read the game, the Red Devils fans will be hoping that De Gea can rekindle his love affair with regular clean sheets due to the protection in front of him.
Central defence has been a problem for years, and now we might not have to worry quite as much.
Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo: Lindelöf’s new contract would have been a hammer blow to a man currently residing in Italy, Chris Smalling has fallen dramatically out-of-favour and his days of being a first team regular at Old Trafford seem numbered.
Smalling may have been watching Lindelöf’s early season wobble with interest, but the new contract reaffirms Solskjaer’s desire to build a team around Lindelöf, Maguire and De Gea.
Smalling wouldn’t have been the only Manchester United centre back to be worried about his long-term future, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are experienced internationals who could also form part of Solskjaer’s next squad trimming.
Barcelona: After losing out to Juventus in the pursuit of wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt, Barcelona reportedly turned their attentions to Lindelöf in the summer according to the Daily Mail.
United managed to keep hold of the ice man and if the Catalans were to reignite their interest, the club would demand a huge fee due to the length of the new contract. It doesn’t appear he has any desire to leave either.
Jose Mourinho: The Portuguese coach spent £31m on the 25-year-old and he hoped that Lindelöf and Eric Bailly would become his dream pairing.
Both players struggled to adapt to the rigours of the English game but it is Lindelöf who has kicked on and made himself a key part of the United side.
Mourinho wanted Ed Woodward to splash the cash on Maguire last summer, but the club had lost trust in the former United manager’s transfer philosophy and therefore didn’t sanction the deal.
It must be difficult for Mourinho to see Maguire impressing at United and one of his previous signings showing the potential that made him splash the cash. Mourinho would of felt that the addition of Maguire alongside Lindelöf, would have enabled him to take the team to a new level. Now he can only watch and wonder.
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