(Reuters) - Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes his fellow Swede Victor Lindelof has the talent to shine for the world’s top teams amid growing speculation the Benfica defender is set to join his compatriot at Manchester United in January.
British media reported that United have opened talks with Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira over a 38 million-pound move for Lindelof, who has 11 international caps, in the upcoming transfer window.
“He (Lindelof) is growing. He has a lot of responsibility with the national team now,” striker Ibrahimovic said of the highly rated 22-year-old.
“Is he good enough for United? I think he is ready for the big clubs out there. It is up to him what he wants and what the situation says. Whatever he chooses, it will be good for him,” Ibrahimovic added.
“I know he is hot on the market so let him make the right choice for him.”
Lindelof has spent five years in Portugal, making his senior debut for Benfica in 2013 and going on to establish himself as a cornerstone of the first team.
Quick and athletic, Lindelof is an excellent reader of the game, strong in the tackle and comfortable with the ball at his feet.
Having made his international debut in March this year, he quickly established himself as first choice for Sweden, starting all three games at Euro 2016.
United have struggled to find a reliable central defensive pairing since Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic left the club in 2014.
They signed Ivorian Eric Bailly this year but he has struggled with injuries along with England international Chris Smalling and manager Jose Mourinho has played Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo together in recent weeks.
Sixth-placed United, who have won seven of their last 10 games in all competitions, host third-bottom Sunderland in the Premier League on Monday.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru and Philip O'Connor in Stockholm, editing by Ed Osmond