Victor Lindelof has reaffirmed his commitment to Manchester United after the defender’s agent raised doubts about his future.
Having endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford following his arrival from Benfica in 2017, the 24-year-old’s impressive, consistent performances saw him finish runner-up in the club’s Player of the Year vote for 2018-19.
Lindelof’s form led to reported interest from Barcelona and agent Hasan Cetinkaya said his client “is in the orbit of a great European club, but leaving United depends on the English club”.
But at a time when the future of several big names is up in the air, the Sweden international appeared to rule out a summer departure.
“I’m very, very happy to be a Manchester United player,” Lindelof said in Perth.
“I’m excited for the new season to start. That’s my answer. I’m very happy here.”
Lindelof is set to make his first pre-season appearance against Leeds on Wednesday as the centre-back looks to build on an impressive campaign.
“It’s my third season here now, I’ve been through it,” he added. “I know what it is to sign for this club and to play for it, and of course to get a little bit of criticism sometimes. That’s part of the game.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested David De Gea is on the brink of signing a new contract with Manchester United.
After demands around the deal saw negotiations stall last season, PA understands that the Old Trafford giants upped their offer to the 28-year-old in an attempt to finally secure his future.
There is now a growing belief within the club that De Gea will sign a new and improved deal that could well make him the best paid goalkeeper in the world.
Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Real Madrid – a club he was so close to joining in 2015 – have been linked to the Spain international, but Solskjaer is confident he will remain at United.
“Yeah, he will play tomorrow (against Leeds),” the United manager said. “And hopefully we can agree (a deal) with David, as I’ve said a few times.
“I think that’ll be up to David and the club to announce if that happens. If and when.”
De Gea joined United from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and he has won the club’s Player of the Year award on a record four occasions.
Real Madrid’s emphatic start to this summer’s transfer market has stolen football’s attention.
An extensive rebuild promised to returning head coach Zinedine Zidane has already seen – including deals previously agreed – more than €300 million spent on the likes of Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard, promising Eintracht Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic and emerging Lyon left-back Ferland Mendy.
There is still the promise of even more to come, with links to €150m-rated Manchester United centre midfielder Paul Pogba refusing to go away.
This splurge is sure to transform Los Blancos’ expectations after they claimed just the Club World Cup in 2018/19. But how does it compare to previous ones?
We’ve looked back through the past five decades to select the most-consequential pre-season spending sprees. Here is the pick of the 1990s:
MANCHESTER UNITED (1998)
Key arrivals: Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke, Jesper Blomqvist
Honourable mentions: Parma (1996 – Lilian Thuram, Hernan Crespo, Enrico Chiesa), Real Madrid (1996 – Bodo Illgner, Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf, Davor Suker, Predrag Mijatovic), Lazio (1998 – Marcelo Salas, Christian Vieri, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Dejan Stankovic, Sergio Conceicao, Fernando Couto), Bayern Munich (1998 – Thomas Linke, Hasan Salihamidzic, Stefan Effenberg, Jens Jeremies)
Something extra was required by Sir Alex Ferguson.
A painful 1997/98 witnessed Arsenal and emerging rival Arsene Wenger get the upper hand in the Premier League thanks to an electric end to the campaign, while a youthful Monaco – whose prodigious frontline was led by Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet – provided lashings of further Champions League pain in the quarter-finals.
These failings saw the United board, as detailed by ex-chairman and chief executive Martin Edwards on talkSPORT, wonder if the highest standards had been allowed to slip. Significant doubts caused them to ask Ferguson to prematurely end his post-season holiday.
The response was emphatic – and historic. Backed with a near £30 million transfer pot, United twice broke their club transfer record and went from mere Charity Shield winners in 1997/98 to England’s only winners of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup a season later.
The immortal treble winners began taking shape when Ferguson headed off a packed field to land titanic PSV Eindhoven centre-back Jaap Stam for £10.6 million – a new landmark for a defender. After a mixed World Cup 1998 with the Netherlands and shaky Charity Shield, performances soon began matching the lavish fee.
Ferguson’s foresight and instincts proved razor sharp with the fraught £12.6m deal to wrestle Dwight Yorke from Aston Villa. The Trinidad and Tobago international would form a telepathic partnership with Andy Cole and 53 goals were scored between them.
But it was this then revolutionary decision to stockpile strikers that, epically, paid dividends the following May. Back-ups Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer netted in the dying throes during the unforgettable Champions League decider to shred Bayern Munich hearts.
Long-term target Jesper Blomqvist would also add squad depth on the flanks once £4.4m was paid to Parma. He would start the classic decider against the Bundesliga giants.