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Man Utd intensify scouting on Joao Neves but Benfica have firm transfer stance

Manchester United have intensified their scouting on Benfica wonderkid Joao Neves, according to Portuguese publication O Jogo (page 7).

The 19-year-old is one of the most sought-after young midfielders in European football. Bruno Fernandes recently urged the Red Devils to sign him.

It is now reported that United have ‘intensified their observations’ of the youngster but a deal could be difficult to pull off with Benfica reluctant to negotiate.

Benfica president Rui Costa is determined to keep hold of the club’s prized asset and he has the ambition to continue with the midfielder beyond this season.

United will have to trigger the €120 million release clause in Neves’ contract to prise him away.

Man Utd could move for Neves next summer

Benfica had a similar stance over Enzo Fernandez last winter. They were reluctant to lose him until Chelsea accepted to pay slightly higher than his €120m buy-out clause.

United may need to negotiate an identical deal for a long-term payment plan but it is unlikely that they will make a move during the January transfer window.

The club are currently in a difficult situation with Financial Fair Play. With the lack of investment from the Glazers, they are close to breaching the spending limits.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is prepared to provide funding after securing a minority stake, but it is unlikely that the club will afford Neves unless there are several departures.

Neves would be an outstanding acquisition for United. At just 19, he is brilliant with his distribution and has won over two tackles and seven duels per game this term.

He could be seen as a successor to Casemiro, who has shown signs of slowing down. The club could spend big on him next summer, provided things go their way.

We don’t see any European outfit making a huge outlay on Neves in January. Chelsea are capable of doing so, but they no longer need to strengthen their midfield.

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