New Man United signing Victor Lindelof came close to making surprise move in 2016

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Victor Lindelof became Manchester United's first major signing of the summer after joining from Benfica for £35 million on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old has spent the last five seasons at the Portuguese giants, however, only properly broke into their first team just over 18 months ago - making his rise even more impressive.

Back at the start of 2016, Lindelof was still just emerging into the setup when his career came close to taking a very drastic turn.

Seeking more first team football, the Swedish international almost moved to England - but not with new club Man United and definitely not for £35 million.

It turns out Lindelof nearly joined Middlesbrough three times over the course of that particular winter transfer window.

Manager at the time, Aitor Karanka had spotted what the versatile defender was capable of seemingly before everyone else.

Negotiations Boro and Benfica were extremely tricky but an agreement was eventually reached which would have seen Lindelof join the Championship side on loan for six months with the view to a £5 million permanent move if they secured promotion, as per The Sun.

As we know, Boro did get promoted so that clause would have been triggered and they would have paid £30m less than what the Red Devils have just shelled out.

Stoke City v Middlesbrough - Premier League

So how did it collapse?

An injury to Lisandro Lopez had given Lindelof some regular playing time and Benfica wanted to insert some extra clauses at the very last minute.

Boro had even booked a plane ticket for Lindelof to fly over and complete the move but despite their best efforts, the deal eventually collapsed on deadline day.

How times change?

Now the 22-year-old can look forward to lining up at Old Trafford alongside David de Gea, Eric Bailly and Marcus Rashford.

It's not quite as dramatic as the ash cloud which prevented Robert Lewandowski from joining Blackburn in 2008 but it is another one of those cases where we will never know how different Lindelof's career would have panned out had he got on that plane.

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