Manchester United have made a £38 million bid for Benfica defender Victor Lindelof, according to reports.
Reds boss Jose Mourinho will be without Eric Bailly for at least four games in the new year due to his Africa Cup of Nations commitments with the Ivory Coast.
United have been tracking the Sweden centre-back for months and have now offered £34m for the 22-year-old, with the rest of the fee based on success-related bonuses.
United scouts have been regular visitors to Benfica’s Stadium of Light and, after watching Lindelof in action in the local derby victory over Sporting Lisbon last weekend, the Reds made their interest official.
Lindelof is reported to have a £30m buy-out clause in his contract – but that can only be triggered next summer.
But United will boosted by the belief the defender does not want to wait until the end of the season to move to one of Europe’s bigger leagues.
United boss Jose Mourinho has urged deal-maker Ed Woodward to force this issue now as he looks to land defensive reinforcements to strengthen his chances of breaking into the Premier League’s top four.
Benfica are reluctant to cash in on Lindelof after qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Borussia Dortmund.
Yet, the Lisbon side could find it hard to turn down a huge offer for a player who only cost a nominal fee when he arrived from Swedish club Vasteras in 2011.
Mourinho has urged United deal-maker Ed Woodward to force this issue now as he looks to land defensive reinforcements to strengthen his chances of breaking into the Premier League’s top four.