Chelsea edging closer to sign Swedish defender whom United failed to sign

Sankha Ghosh / 09 August 2016

Chelsea are still keeping tabs on Benfica defender Vicyot Lindelof, according to reports in Portuguese media.

The 22-year-old defender burst into life last season, making 15 league appearances as his club marched to the top flight title.

And his form apparently caught the eye of a host of Europe’s elite sides, including Manchester United and Chelsea, who were both keeping tabs on him.

Manchester United believed to have made an approach for him last season but had it rebuffed by his club.

Portuguese outlet Record believes Antonio Conte’s interest hasn’t waned though as he is desperately looking to overhaul the squad which slumped to a shock 10th place Premier League finish last season.

The Italian boss has also been heavily linked with Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly this summer.

However, the Serie A giants are reluctant to let go of the Senegal centre-back despite the Stamford Bridge hierarchy reportedly being willing to spend £40m to secure his services.

And that blow has allegedly seen Conte set his sights on Lindelof instead.

The Sweden international has a £25m release clause in his contract – meaning he could move to west London for substantially less than Koulibaly.

Chelsea have already splashed out more than £65m on Michy Batshuayi and N’Golo Kante this pre-season, while Romelu Lukaku continues to be linked with a megabucks return to Stamford Bridge.

From the number of positions the 21-year-old can play, it isn’t a surprise that some of the bigger clubs are out looking for him. Lindelof can play either as a centre-back or in midfield, something that Tottenham fans would be well accustomed to regarding the switch in position of Eric Dier this season.

The Swede made only 27 appearances for Benfica last season across all competition and played just 360 minutes in the league season, which states that he just might not be ready for the big time on a regular basis.

Lindelof for all his abilities would not end up going into the first team, but would be gradually brought into the side.