It’s never easy adapting to the world’s toughest league, and I think Manchester United’s new signing, Victor Lindelöf, will discover that very soon. The 22-year-old Swede joins United, from Portuguese champions Benfica, in a time when securing a top four finish is no longer an inevitability. United desperately needs new talent to replace the likes of Michael Carrick, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Whether Lindelöf can make a difference is still up in the air for me.
It’s obvious United will capture more players, but who those signings are will determine whether they can finish above Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. Seemingly, I don’t think Lindelöf makes much of a difference in where United find themselves at the end of the 2017/18 Premier League season. A talented defender indeed, he’ll struggle with the intensity and pressure to win under a Jose Mourinho side.
The irritable manager is no easy man to play under, but, according to former coaches of his, Lindelöf loves new challenges and always has a can-do attitude. That’s a plus; definitely a necessity in the premier league, and without it you’ll find yourself frustrated as ever. His Champions League and European Championship experience is certainly a plus both for Mourinho and United fans everywhere, but he’s never been to Stoke on a cold, rainy night (that was a joke…sort of). What I really mean is that he’ll face tough opponents in an even tougher atmosphere.
This season it will be interesting to see the man nicknamed Vigge partner with Eric Bailly in the center of defense (I do believe come August the two will be the starting CB’s). Both are still very young with much to learn. Despite only conceding 29 goals in last years campaign, Bailly was no standout defender. More often than not I thought he was clumsy with his tackles and, with that being said, Lindelöf is much more careful in the back. He rarely gets booked, his tackles are cleaner and he’s calm in defense. But that was in the Liga NOS where the toughest teams you’ll play are Porto, Sporting Lisbon and Braga. Every game in the Premier League is tough and comes with immense pressure. It will be the ultimate test for the young Swede.
The last thing I expect is for Lindelöf to be a total flop. He will adapt, but of course like any other young player, will just need time. It may not even take him a full season to do so. According to former teammates of his, Lindelöf plays with such confidence and composure that they forget he is not an experienced 30-year-old and instead a young man with a big future ahead. It’s just not very common for a young player, with no English football experience, to gel right into the Premier League style of play. If he does struggle, like I believe, he will face harsh criticism. This is where a player is made or broken. Is he mature enough to deal with his critics? Those former coaches and teammates I mentioned will absolutely believe he can. But if he proves me wrong, then great. I love seeing new, young talent thrive.
I’m only hoping that he does not enter the Premier League overly confident. He’s already boasting that he’s ‘quite good’ at free kicks having only scored one in his time with
Benfica. We’ll let Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and him figure that one out on the training ground. As for defending, I think he’ll outshine Bailly (who I still lack plenty of confidence in). The two will be aiming to see their club return to the days of the brick wall that was Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. No United back pair has even come close as of yet, and with the two being in their early twenties, only time will tell if they’ll finally be the ones to repair the wall.