It could have been much different had the transfer market had its way this summer.
According to Lindelof’s agent, the 25-year-old was wanted by Barcelona, among other clubs, but Manchester United was not open to any transfers.
“There was a lot of interest from clubs that are even better [than United] at the moment,” Lindelof’s agent Hasan Cetinkaya told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “When Matthijs de Ligt chose Juventus, Victor was pronounced Barcelona’s first choice.”
As much as Lindelof or his agent wanted the move, there was no chance a move would take place thanks to Manchester United transfer chief Ed Woodward. “His way of playing, his DNA, is very close to Barcelona’s way of playing. He is one of the world’s best centre-backs with the ball at his feet, and Barcelona wanted him. That’s how it was. I can talk about that now. They contacted Ed Woodward on numerous occasions with concrete offers. I had a meeting with their transfer manager, Matt Judge, to try to make a transition. But they just said: ‘There is no chance. Victor is one of our best players’.”
That led to a new five-year deal at Manchester United, hoping to ward off any outside interest that could eventually turn his head despite three years left on his contract. With his future secure, the agent was comfortable discussing past possibilities.
It’s no surprise that Barcelona was interested. They lost out on Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus, and their current situation is dicey. Samuel Umtiti has struggled with injuries the past few years and is out with a foot problem for at least another month, while Clement Lenglet has seen spotty performances, sent off over the weekend against Getafe. That has pushed 19-year-old Jean-Claire Tobito into action, digging deep into the squad depth.