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Erik ten Hag 'open' to allowing first-team defender to leave this summer

Summer exit? Ten Hag 'willing' to allow first-team defender to leave
© Reuters
Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelof could reportedly leave the club during this summer's transfer window amid interest from Fenerbahce.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag is reportedly open to allowing Victor Lindelof to leave the club during this summer's transfer window.

There is currently speculation surrounding the Sweden international's future, with Fenerbahce, who have recently appointed Jose Mourinho as their new manager, said to be keen.

Mourinho was in charge at Old Trafford when Man United signed Lindelof from Benfica in 2017, and it is being reported that the Portuguese is now keen on a reunion with the defender.

According to the Daily Mail, Ten Hag is prepared to let the 29-year-old leave this summer under the right circumstances, as his departure would boost the club's budget for the transfer window.

The report claims that Man United want to sign two new centre-backs this summer and are therefore open to allowing one more to leave, having already decided against renewing Raphael Varane's contract.

Manchester United's Victor Lindelof reacts after Brighton & Hove Albion's first goal on September 16, 2023© Reuters

Lindelof could leave Man United this summer

In 2019, Lindelof was full of praise for Mourinho when discussing the Portuguese's time at Old Trafford.

"[Mourinho] is, after all, one of the world's best coaches and he is supposed to have a job at one of the biggest clubs. I miss him in football," he told Aftonbladet.

"He's a great coach and a great person, whom I owe a great deal. It was he who gave me the chance here, who brought me into everything. I have all the respect in the world for him and appreciate everything he has said and done for me, from scolding to a hug.

"Even if I did not agree, at the time, he has very great charisma, you had great respect for him. He's won everything. When he says something, you listen."

A number of other clubs are also said to be keeping a close eye on Lindelof's situation, but the strongest interest at this moment in time appears to be coming from Mourinho's team.

Manchester United's Andre Onana and Victor Lindelof celebrate after the match on September 26, 2023© Reuters

Has Lindelof been a successful signing for Man United?

Lindelof made the move to Man United from Benfica in 2017, and he has represented the 20-time English champions on 259 occasions in all competitions, scoring four goals and registering seven assists in the process.

It would be fair to say that the Swede has struggled for consistency at Old Trafford, though, and there have been constant question marks surrounding his suitability for the team during his time at the club.

Lindelof made 28 appearances during the 2023-24 campaign, but he only featured on 19 occasions in the Premier League, partly down to injuries but also due to other options being preferred.

Varane is leaving, and a departure for Lindelof would mean that Lisandro Martinez and Harry Maguire are the only senior options available to Ten Hag, although Jonny Evans could soon sign a new deal.

Martinez, Maguire and Evans could therefore be joined by two more next season, with Willy Kambwala also an option, so it would not be a surprise to see Lindelof's Red Devils career soon come to an end.

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Manchester United's Andre Onana and Victor Lindelof celebrate after the match on September 26, 2023
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