In-demand centre-back Victor Lindelof will be allowed to leave Benfica if one of his many suitors stump up the £26 million needed to trigger his release clause, Calciomercato report.
The Swedish international was something of an unknown outside of Portugal until a series of impressive performances in the Champions League, particularly a stirring defensive display against Bayern Munich, put him squarely in the shop window for some of Europe’s most illustrious clubs to mull over.
The Express reported that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte had shown an interest in Lindelof in the latter stages of the transfer window after missing out on his first choice defensive targets, namely Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
And, according to Calciomercato, The Blues will have the option of sealing a deal for the 22-year-old if they are willing to part with a hefty figure for a player who has made just 42 first-team appearances outside his homeland.
Furthermore, despite age and injuries catching up with experienced duo Andrea Barzagli and Georgio Chiellini (below), Juventus are likely to be put off by the fee,Calciomercato add, though that’s not to say Chelsea are free to negotiate a deal unopposed.
According to A Bola, representatives from 28 different clubs, from Barcelona to West Brom, Liverpool to Dortmund, travelled to watch Lindelof at close quarters in Benfica’s Champions League win against Dynamo Kiev recently.
However, the stats suggest that Lindelof would be a good fit for Chelsea’s new-look three-man backline.
His average of 62 passes per game, complete with an 88% accuracy according to WhoScored, demonstrates a technical ability to complement his aerial prowess and composed positioning, suggesting that he could drop seamlessly into the centre of Conte’s defensive trio if David Luiz’s reverts to type.
Not that the modernisation of defenders is restricted to the capital, however. Joel Matip’s poise in possession and ability to drift into midfield means Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have a reliable outball when exercising the option of building from the back but, in truth, the Cameroonian’s defensive partners lack the same composure on the ball.
Dejan Lovren, in particular, is still yet to get to grips with a more expensive gameplan at Anfield, gifting Crystal Palace a goal with a calamitous touch two weeks ago, while Ragnar Klavan is an accurate yet ultimately limited ball-player.
Therefore, the introduction of the multi-talented Lindelof, nicknamed ‘The Iceman’ at Benfica, would add an extra helping of class to a squad teeming with technical excellence.