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Lindelof may snub United to extend his stay at Benfica

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester United's hopes of signing defender Victor Lindelof could be set to take a significant blow after reports emerged that the player is close to penning a new contract with Benfica.

The 22-year-old has been heavily linked with United in recent weeks as manager Jose Mourinho looks to reinforce his defensive options for the latter half of the Premier League season.

Lindelof had looked set to join for an expected £38m but Portuguese newspaper O Jogo are reporting that the defender is now poised to sign a new deal at his current club with a buy-out clause worth more than £50m.

If the alleged contract is formalised, it remains unclear whether or not United would meet a higher asking price - an effective snub from Lindelof.

It's believed Benfica will also need to pay Lindelof's first club, Vasteras in Sweden, 20 per cent of any future fee which would see them receive a £10m windfall if a move to United is completed.

Should the move still go through, O Jogo also reported that the Swede will earn £58,000-a-week at Old Trafford. His current contract in Portugal is said to be worth less than £3,500-a-week.

The move had looked all but certain earlier in the month after Benfica coach Rui Vitoria refused to rule out a potential transfer.

Although United have made no official comment with regards to Lindelof, Vitoria dropped the biggest hint that the player is on his way to Old Trafford after publicly stating he is not concerned by the prospect of losing the Sweden international.

"If it happens to a player we will be prepared and we will find solutions," he said.

"There is always the prospect of someone leaving and it does not have implications on our work.

"It could be anyone. Many of them have a lot of quality and are attractive in the market, especially at their age."

• Everton boss Ronald Koeman has revealed the club are interested in signing 19-year-old Charlton forward Ademola Lookman.

Reports have suggested the Toffees are set to pay a fee of £10million for the teenager in a deal they expect to complete early in the January transfer window.

When asked about Lookman at his press conference yesterday ahead of tomorrow's Premier League away clash with Hull, Koeman said: "There is interest for the boy, yes."

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