Manchester United are right to have concerns about Victor Lindelof. Since the arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City, it was clear his colleagues would need to step up. England’s demanding central defender has already taken the armband and he is an indispensable member of the starting 11. Now, there is only one place up for grabs; right-sided centre-back.
Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof Concerns Fair
Harry Maguire’s Impact
United’s defence has levelled up since Maguire’s inception, but his influence on the team has come ever so quietly. He has gained few plaudits and occasionally finds himself on the end of criticism from rival supporters. It was to be expected that the impact he had would be compared to that of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who joined them for £75 million from Southampton. The media covered United’s pursuit of Maguire as a copycat transfer – signing a top-class defender and hoping that will be the catalyst for something far bigger than what has been seen at Old Trafford since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Look at it without comparing Maguire to the likes of van Dijk – it was a huge transfer and it’s Manchester United spending yet another astronomical transfer fee, despite years of painful failure. But Maguire has solidified the United defence, featuring in every single league game so far this season. He has helped keep four clean sheets in the last five league games, including against Chelsea and Manchester City as United found an upturn in form prior to the stoppage.
United Have Shortlist to Replace Victor Lindelof
ESPN have reported that Manchester United have concerns about Victor Lindelof’s form and may have started to look elsewhere for Maguire’s long-term partner. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly is thought to be a longtime target as the Senegal international is highly-regarded by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Solskjaer is also an admirer of Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, who the Red Devils were linked with before his move to Turin.
Lindelof hasn’t had the worst of seasons. However, Manchester United’s squad is starting to piece together and any imperfections will be corrected as they look to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City at the top.
No Need to Rush
The Sweden international has made the occasional error this season and his distribution hasn’t always been as good as promised. They are often just silly mistakes, though. Mistakes that a talented defender like Lindelof, 25, could prove to be just that. What’s to say Lindelof won’t have a fantastic 2020/21 campaign? He hasn’t been poor enough to warrant replacing just yet. United have fair competition waiting in the wings from the likes of Axel Tuanzebe and Eric Bailly. Bailly himself is arguably the best defender at the club when fully fit, only contested by Maguire. The trouble for Bailly is he has been prone to injury throughout time at the club so far. Teden Mengi is also showing immense potential in the academy and he will be in the picture soon.
The urgency for the club to make a big move at the back just isn’t there at the moment. They should prioritise other areas in the next transfer window, particularly the need for a right-winger. That isn’t a well-kept secret. Jadon Sancho is the ideal candidate for that position.