Last season, Lindelof found form and became a fantastic addition to the Man Utd squad. In a season where Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young featured heavily to the frustration of fans, it was Lindelof who got all the praise.
Unfortunately for the Swede, he has had a rocky start to the season with his brand new teammates Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka beside him. His weakness of winning aerial duels has proven to be the bane of an otherwise solid-looking Man Utd defence.
Does Lindelof deserve a new contract?
But is this enough not to renew his contract? This defender was recently approached by Barcelona, who tend to steer away from signing players they do not 100% believe will bring quality.
Other than that, his overall gameplay is actually very good. His distribution and passing abilities helped Man Utd tremendously last season. Now, Man Utd have two centre-backs who can do this with ease. Playing from the back in the modern game is pivotal, and Man Utd have done this superbly on several occasions.
Last season, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones struggled with this, often panicking and losing possession in dangerous areas.
Solskjaer wants this back-four to grow together over the coming years. Should Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw reach their maximum potential, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire continue being fit and of the highest quality, Man Utd’s back four could be the new Gary Neville – Rio Ferdinand- Nemanja Vidic – Patrice Evra.
Next stop, fixing the midfield!
After a total rebuild of the back four and introducing Axel Tuanzebe to the bench is a magnificent start to Solskjaer’s reign. But their major downfall is the midfield. When Pogba’s future is decided, and new midfielders are introduced, Solskjaer will finally have a model of what he will be working with for the foreseeable future.
Solskjaer now has six senior centre-backs at his disposal after sending Chris Smalling on loan to Roma, who is due to return to Old Trafford in summer of 2020.
Roma’s number one centre-back Kostas Manolas took a step up by moving to Napoli this summer. This led to the Italians opting to take Chris Smalling, who was told by Solskjaer that he wouldn’t see much game time with the Reds this season.
This will likely result in Chris Smalling not returning to Old Trafford any time soon, and here is why.
Will Chris Smalling ever return to Man Utd?
If Chris Smalling has a fantastic season with Roma, they will opt to keep him for a further season. Seeing Smalling return to Manchester in summer of 2021. This will leave only one year left his contract, and he will be 31 years old by this time.
However, should Smalling have a poor season with Roma, it will hinder his chances of coming back to Old Trafford on a high and being in contention for a spot in the first team or even the bench.
Should Smalling return at 31 years old, he will not see much action on the pitch. The partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire will be extremely strong by this time and Axel Tuanzebe will be featuring regularly as a rotational defender.
If Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly are deemed surplus to requirement, then Chris Smalling may have a chance to return as Man Utd’s fourth-choice centre-back.
Chris Smalling has been deemed by fans as not good enough to be a starter for a top-four side. But he is the third-best defender Man Utd have until Tuanzebe proves his worth.
All of these players have been criticised for their lack of talent or motivation to be successful at Man Utd. But until these players are replaced, fans should sit on fence about whether the steps being taken are to improve the squad or to improve the companies income.
How will Man Utd cope this season?
The movement of senior players out of the squad indicates that Solskjaer is going to be heavily reliant on Man Utd’s homegrown youth. Mason Greenwood, Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong and James Garner have all remained within the ranks for the season ahead.
Brandon Williams is a fantastic 18-year-old left-back in the Reds’ academy. He is being considered by fans as the best Luke Shaw replacement after he went off injured against Crystal Palace.
With injuries to Martial and Shaw already, the squad looks extremely thin. The squad lacks depth, quality and experience. But if Solskjaer is to be believed, they are fit, hungry, motivated and hard-working. Is that enough to get a top-four spot this season? If they do pull it off, Solskjaer will begin to be taken seriously in the world of football management.
Chris Smalling is set to join Roma on loan from Manchester United and The Football Manc Cave are looking at your reactions.
Smalling is yet to make an appearance this season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is content to lose him, after the signing of Harry Maguire this summer that has left the club with too many defenders.
21-year-old Alex Tuanzebe has taken the main spot at Old Trafford and Smalling has fallen down the pecking order. It’s no surprise that he wants to leave the Manchester side but United fans have kind of been waiting for this day to come…
The reason behind this is to ensure that the Ivorian defender doesn’t leave on a free transfer at the end of the current season.
This is insanely terrible business and management of the club, here are two reasons why…
Woodward never learns
Man Utd has been plagued with a ridiculous wage structure, Marcus Rashford earning more than Raheem Sterling says it all.
Bailly currently earns £120,000 a week, which will surely increase during negotiations of the contract extension. This means that Man Utd, once again, will not be able to sell the individual because they cannot match the player’s wages. We have seen this with Marcos Rojo failing to join Everton on deadline day.
In the coming years, Woodward will be trying to profit on a £30m transfer for Bailly from Villareal made in June 2016. With his high wages, his ever-increasing age and being very injury-prone, it is highly unlikely that any club would pay north for £30m or be willing to match or increase his wage.
7 is definitely a crowd
Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe are all senior centre-backs. This is far too many to establish defenders without pushing two or three players into the reserves.
Chris Smalling is far from a fan favourite. Phil Jones himself is injury prone but potentially more reliable than Eric Bailly.
It is great to have aggressive defenders who love a crunching tackle. But there are too many arguments as for why Eric Bailly should be let go from the club.
Swedish outlet Sportbladet reports new contract for Victor Lindelof, taking him to 2025 with Man Utd.
The partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in Man Utd’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea was something Red Devils haven’t seen in years. Their defensive solidarity allows for the Reds to play the ball out from the back. The team can now attack with confidence as they trust the defensive barracks behind them.
Maguire signed a contract with Man Utd until 2025, with the option of extending a further year. Victor Lindelof, according to reports, is also being offered a contract until 2025. Coincidence? I think not.
The Football Manc Cave bring you 2 reasons why Victor Lindelof signing a new contract is essential to Man Utd’s future…
The perfect match
Since Lindelof’s arrival at Man Utd, he has been playing alongside Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the majority of occasions. Two defenders who were completely dropped from the squad on the opening day this season.
Partnered with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof’s deficiency (aerial dominance) is covered.
Maguire acts as the rock of the defence, whilst Lindelof is slightly more nimble and can pull off last-ditch tackles and keep up with pacey attackers.
The way the newly wedded partners Maguire and Lindelof behaved, conducted and commanded the game against Chelsea was nothing short of outstanding. Solskjaer has landed himself one of the best defences in the league, especially with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the mix.
Do one, Barca!
Reports over summer suggested Barcelona were interested in Victor Lindelof. Upon his arrival, the Swede struggled with the physicality of the Premier League. At this time, he would have been a perfect fit for Barcelona.
Lindelof’s quality suggests that he still is. However, the ‘Iceman’ has worked on his physicality, as well as aerial dominance and other areas he lacked in. This made him the first choice centre back for both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Although the defender is not seen in the limelight, shouting and raving about his love for the club, his determination to improve himself and his weakness demonstrates that he is the perfect fit for Man Utd.
Making him all the more likely to see a renewed contract as a reward, and not as a hurdle in stepping up to a bigger European club.
Solskjaer has instilled a fighting team spirit. Soon, the squad will be drilled in winning everything, every time, just like the old days.
His management kept Paul Pogba committed to the club, so keeping Lindelof should be a breeze.
The dark cloud over Old Trafford appears to be fading. What does Man Utd’s 4-0 thrashing over Lampard mean for the Red Devils as they march on?
No honest Man Utd or Chelsea fan can admit they saw that coming. Despite Chelsea having moments of showing how they can find themselves in dangerous areas, the attacks were always snuffed.
Man Utd and Chelsea are in similar situations, both have a much weaker squad than they have done in the years gone by, both feel they are underachieving and both are managed by a club legend.
This occasion was truly boys versus men. Man Utd allowed Chelsea the arrogance to try and bring the game to the Reds on their home turf, backfiring 4 goals from 5 shots on target. Which leads on to the first key thing we learned from Solskjaer’s 4-0 win…
Romelu Lukaku’s departure from the club left many fans scratching their heads. Where on Earth was Manchester United going to get their goals from?
If Man Utd had just beaten Norwich, Sheffield Utd or Newcastle 4-0, with respect to those clubs, there would still be concern about how Man Utd will cope this season.
However, in a campaign where Man Utd are fighting for 4th place with Chelsea and Arsenal, the Reds have already sent one of them to the bins. With a fairly given penalty buried by Rashford, he continued to show how much bottle he has.
A real number nine goal for Man Utd’s number nine. It saw Man Utd play it out to the wing, whipped in across goal from Pereira and met in front of the net by Anthony Martial to make it 2-0.
Merely seconds later, a beautiful pass behind the Chelsea defence came from a quiet Paul Pogba, controlled and slotted home by Marcus Rashford. Challenging Martial for his striker spot.
Finally, a dream debut for substitute Daniel James. As Pogba drove forward, the Welsh speedster caught up to him on his right-hand side, was played in and buried it home.
Basically, Man Utd can score goals this season.
Ole agrees! Team selection
Man Utd fans worldwide disagree on many things, to the abuse of players, to the ownership to how nice the new strip is. But one thing they all agree on is that Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Nemanja Matic are crucial to why Man Utd will fail this season.
Be it silly mistakes, lack of quality or inability to keep up with the new style of play; Solskjaer gave none of them game time today.
It is positive for fans to see their club moving forward, after falling behind for so many years. It appears the concerns of the fans are also the concerns of Solskjaer and all are on the same page with how this Man Utd team should look, behave and perform. Unfortunately, the Reds are merely and injury or two away from having an inadequate squad.