Manchester United has a significant challenge in Benfica, and may need a man familiar with the Estadio da Luz to help them out. Center back Eric Bailly remains out for United, which could bring Victor Lindelof into the fold to help stop Haris Seferovic, Gabriel Barbosa, Raul Jimenez, and especially Jonas.
Coming off a sleepy weekend draw versus Liverpool in an underwhelming derby, United will take on a desperate Benfica team which is traditionally strong but lost at home to CSKA Moscow and was crushed in Switzerland by Basel.
Speaking of the need to rebound, Chelsea’s loss to Crystal Palace still has many scratching their heads. Fortunately, Roma is also in a mini-funk after a weekend loss to Napoli that ended a five-match winning streak.
There’s a reunion for Antonio Rudiger inside Stamford Bridge with Roma in town. I Lupi has been pretty one-dimensional in terms of offense, with ex-Man City man and reigning Serie A capocannoniere winner Edin Dzeko. He’s scored eight times in nine matches for Roma this season.
Full Wednesday UCL schedule All kickoffs at 2:45 p.m. ET except where indicated
Qarabag vs. Atletico Madrid — Noon ET
Anderlecht vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Benfica vs. Manchester United
Juventus vs. Sporting Lisbon
Barcelona vs. Olympiacos
Chelsea vs. Roma
Bayern Munich vs. Celtic
CSKA Moscow vs. Basel
Jose Mourinho is patting himself on the back for getting his transfer business done early in the window.
Manchester United spent a reported $190 million on signing Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof, but Mourinho believes that the club would have had to spend even more had the transfers come after Neymar’s $260 million move.
“I think we were very clever,” Mourinho told the Times UK. “We thought that something could happen that could change the market forever. Normally the last part of the market is less expensive, but this season, after Neymar [left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record £199 million deal], everything changed — and changed for the worse in terms of prices. I think Lukaku on August 31 would have been £150 million. Matic would have been £60 million or £70 million. Neymar changed everything. If the biggest transfer in history had still been Pogba, I think Philippe Coutinho [the Liverpool playmaker] would now be in Barcelona at £101 million.
“People look to the £200 million figure now. Now the players of £20 million became £40 million, the players of £40 million became £60 million and everything changed. Lukaku and Matic, now, would have cost us £200 million in total. But because we did it in the first part of the summer, it was much less. I think we did well in financial terms and well in preparation terms, getting them before the season started. That is not crucial but it is important.”
Mourinho has a right to be happy about his work in the transfer market. He was able to bring in three players to improve the team’s spine and Man United is flying high with three wins out of three to lead the Premier League.
Now it remains to be seen whether Man United can keep up the strong performances throughout the rest of the season, giving Mourinho his fourth Premier League title.
Manchester United unveils Swedish center back Lindelof
Lindelof has 12 caps and a goal for Sweden, and played 47 matches as Benfica won the Portuguese Primera Liga and advanced to the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16.
The reported fee has been $39 million with the potential to rise as high as $50 million. Here’s Jose Mourinho, from ManUtd.com:
“Victor is a very talented young player, who has a great future ahead of him at United. Our season last year showed us that we need options and quality to add depth to the squad and Victor is the first to join us this summer. I know that our fantastic group of players will welcome him as one of us.”
Lindelof played every minute of Benfica’s UCL run, and also has experience at defensive mid and right back. He’ll fight to fit into United’s lineup alongside Eric Bailly.
Manchester United’s latest signing has arrived in Manchester. Well, Carrington, to be exact.
Defender Victor Lindelöf, ahead of his now-confirmed transfer to Manchester United, arrived at the club’s training ground to undergo his medical. Manchester United confirmed Saturday that they had agreed a deal with Benfica over the Swedish defender, reported to include a nearly $40 million transfer fee.
Lindelöf started 40 times for Benfica at centerback in the Portuguese league and UEFA Champions League combined, scoring one goal and helping earn 23 shutouts.
The 22-year-old, who has already made 12 appearances for Sweden and started for them at Euro 2016, is expected to slot into the Man United starting lineup next season, possibly alongside Eric Bailly, with Phil Jones and Chris Smalling rumored to be leaving the club.
Here’s a look at more transfer news around the Premier League: