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Man Utd target Joao Neves in line for new contract with €150m release clause

Manchester United target Joao Neves is close to signing an improved contract at Benfica with an increased release clause, according to O Jogo(page 10).

The 19-year-old is one of the best emerging midfielders in European football and he has already established himself as a regular starter in the number six role.

He currently has a release clause worth €120 million in his deal, and O Jogo claim that Benfica have recently opened discussions over a new long-term contract.

As part of the deal, Neves would be in line for a salary increase while Benfica also plan to raise his buy-out clause by another €30m. It could be announced by early January.

Manchester United are reportedly ‘at the top’ of the ‘starting grid’ to sign him, but Benfica want to keep him until the summer at least. Neves has a similar transfer stance.

Man Utd unlikely to pursue Neves in January

The Red Devils recently confirmed the minority investment from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, but the deal won’t be ratified by the Premier League for the next four to six weeks.

At the earliest, INEOS and Ratcliffe could take over the footballing operations from January 20 onwards but it is unlikely they will break the bank for Neves’ signature.

Even if there is outside investment, the Financial Fair Play situation may not allow United to splash the cash on Neves. They are likely to wait until the end of the season.

Benfica sold Goncalo Ramos to Paris Saint-Germain on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy for €80m. They agreed a fee much less than his €120m release clause.

In our view, a package of around €100m could be sufficient to sign Neves in the summer.

Neves would be a quality acquisition for the Red Devils. He has a passing accuracy of 90 per cent this term with 2.1 tackles and 6.9 duels won per league appearance.

He has also won 72 per cent of his dribbles with nearly six ball recoveries per outing. The fans will be hoping that the club can persuade him to join next summer.

United have a good working relationship with super-agent Jorge Mendes who represents Neves. This could prove crucial to their prospects of landing the wonderkid.

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