Manchester United have been scouting Benfica midfielder Joao Neves for some time, but acquiring him, at least in the January transfer window, will be a massive challenge. United captain Bruno Fernandes made eyebrow raising comments this weekend about Neves, indicating just how much he’d like to have his national teammate also join him on the club level.
Fernandes said that he’s been actively recruiting the 19-year-old, whose contract at his current club runs until 2028.
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, as he posted on X just a few hours ago, the Portugese club has no interest in selling the teenage prodigy in the winter window.
??? Benfica have no intention to open talks for João Neves in January despite Man United sending their scouts many times to track talented midfielder.
There’s same clause as Enzo Fernández one year ago into his contract: €120m. pic.twitter.com/jHdSJlhq71
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 20, 2023
To drive home the point that they aren’t looking to sell, Benfica have slapped a €120m (£105m/$131m) on the teenager, via a release clause inserted into his contract. So while United have sent scouts to his games on several occasions, thereby conveying major interest, they’ll have to pay up, big time, if they want to close the deal.
Given how much Old Trafford has been splashing the cash lately, it is much more likely they will just wait for a future transfer window, when the Joao Neves price tag has been considerably reduced.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now, while writing for the International Baseball Writers Association of America. You can follow the website on Twitter.