Man Utd transfer target Victor Lindelof is Swedish Rio Ferdinand, says Jesper Blomqvist

Sweden's defender Victor Nilsson Lindelof celebrates after scoring during the WC 2018 football qualification match between Sweden and Bulgaria in Solna.
Image: Manchester United are keen on signing Sweden defender Victor Lindelof in January

Former United winger Jesper Blomqvist believes the club have targeted Sweden's version of Rio Ferdinand in Victor Lindelof.

Sky Sources in Portugal say initial discussions have taken place between Benfica's president Luis Felipe Vieira and United about a £38m deal.

Who is Victor Lindelof?

Who is Victor Lindelof?

All you need to know about Manchester United's target

They had initially been reluctant to sell the centre-back after qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Champions League.

It appears, however, a deal could be reached and Blomqvist has backed his old club's attempts to secure the 22-year-old.

FUNCHAL, MADEIRA, PORTUGAL - MAY 08: Victor Lindelof of SL Benfica challenges Patrick of CS Maritimo during the Portuguese Primeira Liga at Estadio dos Bar
Image: Lindelof has impressed as he has made himself a mainstay of Benfica's team

He told the Manchester Evening News: "I was watching the November match between Sweden and France on TV and caught a glimpse of Jose Mourinho in the stand.

"My first thought was that it could only be Victor Lindelof he was looking at. My second thought was what a great signing that would be for the player and Manchester United. It would be perfect.

United in talks for Lindelof

United in talks for Lindelof

Manchester United have held initial discussions with Benfica over a £38m move for Victor Lindelof

"I have seen him play for the national under-21s, the senior side and in the Champions League for Benfica and he has the right qualities.

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"He's quick, confident with the ball, likes to play and is very strong. For United fans I think the best comparisons would be with Rio Ferdinand and Ronny Johnsen.

Image: Jesper Blomqvist, who played for United from 1998 to 2001, has given Lindelof his backing

"I'm not saying he is at their level yet but he is very capable of getting there. He's a mature player and a mature person."

Lindelof has been in Portugal since he was 17 and made his breakthrough last season, establishing himself as a regular in Benfica's team.

Sky Sports News HQ reported last month he was United's top target going into the winter transfer window.

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Eric Bailly is injured and will be at the Africa Cup of Nations in January with Ivory Coast, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are only recently back from injuries.

Blomqvist has been impressed by Lindelof's development and added: "One thing I like is he hasn't gone an easy route with his career.

"I think making the decision to go to Portugal at that age and making a success of it and then doing what he did for the under-21s shows the character of the player.

"That tells you everything you need to know about him. Obviously, a move to Manchester United is a different level again.

Rio Ferdiand (R) was an excellent defender for club and country
Image: Blomqvist has compared Lindelof to former United defender Rio Ferdinand

"Not every Swede is Zlatan Ibrahimovic! But you get the feeling that Victor would handle it okay. I don't think Mourinho is actually looking for someone to help them through a crisis.

"He wouldn't be going to England as a saviour for the defence. As much as I think he is a mature lad and can handle pressure I think that could only be a bonus for him."

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