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Man Utd targeting Benfica prodigy Joao Neves

Manchester United have reportedly set their sights on Benfica teenage phenom Joao Neves, who broke onto the big stage last season.

According to Gianluca Di Marzio, the Red Devils are considering launching a bid for the 18-year-old midfielder.

Neves graduated from the Benfica youth academy and signed his first professional contract at the Estadio da Luz in 2020 at the age of 16.

It took him two years to make his senior debut for the club, coming on as a late substitute in a 3-0 demolition of Gil Vicente in December 2022.

He made 17 league outings for Roger Schmidt’s side last season, helping them win the Primeira Liga title.

While most of his appearances were only cameo showings, the prodigious midfielder established himself as a regular starter, racking up six league starts at the tail-end of the last campaign.

In addition to his domestic exploits, the teenager also featured for Benfica in the Champions League knockout stage, chipping in with an assist in a 5-1 thrashing of Club Brugge in the round of 16.

He’s currently away on international duty with Portugal, starting all three matches in the 2023 European U-21 Championship and scoring once as the Selecao progressed into the knockout phase.

Neves’ breakout season in Lisbon made him a target for Man United, but even if the Red Devils decide to pursue his signature this summer, he’d likely join the club’s youth ranks.

Despite quickly adapting to top-flight football in Portugal, it’s hard for the young talent to make a senior Premier League squad from the get-go, regardless of his burgeoning potential.

It’s also uncertain whether Benfica would even entertain possible offers for their up-and-coming starlet, given their habit of developing raw talents into top-class stars before selling them for hefty profits.

Neves’ career has only just begun, meaning they are unlikely to earn a substantial figure from his departure, which could deter them from negotiating his sale this summer.

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