Former Birmingham boss admits he snubbed new Man United star

Birmingham snub Lindelof

Victor Lindelof became one of the most expensive defenders of all time when he moved from Benfica to Manchester United in the summer. The deal was worth an initial €35 million with up to €10 million in add-ons.

It was quite a fee for a player few were familiar with 18 months beforehand. But if that doesn’t illustrate how fast Lindelof rose to prominence, perhaps this tale from Derby boss Gary Rowett will.

Back when he was Birmingham boss, Rowett was offered the services of Lindelof. Required to get first-team experience, Lindelof’s agent was making phone calls to clubs around Europe. This one was unsuccessful.

Rowett told Sky Sports: “About two or three years ago when we first went into Birmingham an agent called us and said we are trying to get some of our younger players out to expose them to different levels.

“We had a look at him [Lindelof] and put it to some of the staff, but it was ironic because they felt he wasn’t probably quite tough enough. Then suddenly he’s been touted around at £20m or £30m. So I think we made a mistake.

“To be fair he got straight back in the Benfica side very quickly and of course went from strength to strength.”

Slow start to United career

Rowett was right in a sense. It has taken Lindelof a little longer than expected to get used to the English style of play. A shaky pre-season led to him being held back before a first start last week in the 3-0 win over Basel.

He followed up that appearance with another outing in the 4-1 win over Burton Albion in the League Cup.

It’s not clear whether his fiancee Maja Nilsson was in attendance but she has made her thoughts clear about the prices of executive boxes at Old Trafford. Apparently, anyone who doesn’t have one is treated like a loser.