Manchester United are being backed to pull off an astonishing deal to sign classy Benfica teenager Joao Neves with reports in his homeland backing Erik ten Hag to swoop for what will likely prove a record-breaking transfer.
The Dutchman has been backed heavily in the transfer market this summer, bringing in £172m worth of new talent with three top stars all arriving. And while Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund have seen Ten Hag land on his top targets, the Red Devils boss is far from finished yet.
To that end, reports on Thursday claim a breakthrough in the chase for Sofyan Amrabat is close to being finalised. After chasing his signature for most of the summer, United now expect to secure his arrival before the window slams shut. Personal terms have long since been agreed, and Fabrizio Romano claimed fresh talks between the clubs will take place through the night.
The Red Devils are also on the cusp of adding Tottenham left-back, Sergio Reguilon, to their ranks. A verbal agreement that includes a critical clause has been struck with Tottenham.
Man Utd tipped to sign Joao Neves, dubbed ‘Bruno Fernandes 2.0’
Deals for Amrabat and Reguilon will see United’s spending push through the £200m barrier for the summer.
And it seems Ten Hag may not be done yet, per reports in Portugal, who claim United are also looking into a potential deal for Benfica teenager Joao Neves.
The 18-year-old is one of Portugal’s bright young talents and was first linked with a move to United earlier this summer.
Having made 31 appearances for Benfica, he recently signed a new deal that keeps him at the Estadio da Luz until summer 2028. Tellingly, that deal also contains a sky-high release clause currently set at €120m (£102.7m).
Now amid concerns over a lack of quality displayed in midfield so far this season, Portuguese TV pundit Vitor Pinto claims Ten Hag is ready to move for Neves to redress that balance.
Speaking to Record, Pinto has explained why he believes Neves ‘has a place’ waiting for him in the Red Devils side.
“We understand the difficulty of Man United. We saw Man United’s first Premier League games. Mason Mount is unrecognisable in midfield. It’s been Casemiro and Mason Mount, in the last game [Christian] Eriksen came on.
“Fact is that despite having players, they don’t have quality in midfield at the level of what Joao Neves could transmit. That’s true. In my opinion, I was surprised by the news, but Joao Neves clearly has a place in Ten Hag’s options.”
Pinto would cost Man Utd a record fee for a teenager
Pinto, however, has warned United that the player – who compares to Bruno Fernandes – will not be allowed to leave for a cut-price fee.
“If the idea is to buy Joao Neves at a bargain price, then look, stay there with Bruno Fernandes 1.0, because Bruno Fernandes 2.0 will continue to play for Benfica. And there’ll be someone who, at the right time, will value him at the level of Joao Neves, already 1.0, so yes, paying what Joao Neves will justify if he continues to evolve.
“Now, at this point, it doesn’t look like the business is viable.”
While Pinto did not put a price on Neves’ head, reports in Portugal suggest it would take a fee in the region of £60m to convince Benfica to sell.
Such a signing does indeed look beyond them this window, but Pinto’s belief is that United will make a move in the transfer windows to come, be that the January window or potentially next summer.
Either way, should the move go through for that price, the deal would set United back a new British record fee for a teenager.
For years, that record was held by United and the £57.3m ultimately paid to Monaco for Anthony Martial. This summer, however, the record has been narrowly eclipsed by Chelsea with the £58m package agreed with Southampton for Romeo Lavia.
However, Neves, at £60m, would set a new record mark with reports in Portugal convinced the teenage star is a United platyer in waiting.