Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Liverpool rival Man Utd for transfer of as yet unbeaten defender with extortionate exit clause

Antonio Silva challenging Nuno Mendes

Antonio Silva and Nuno Mendes, Benfica vs PSG

Manchester United recently began showing an interest in Benfica defender Antonio Silva, but now so too are Liverpool, according to reports.

A report earlier this month named Manchester United as one of the clubs keeping tabs on Silva’s development. Still only 18 years old, he has broken through into the Benfica first team this season. From 12 appearances in all competitions, he is yet to taste defeat at senior level.

Silva has started all four of Benfica’s Champions League group matches so far this season. There have also been seven starts for him in the Portuguese top flight and one in the Taca De Portugal, the country’s cup competition.

In all but one of his outings, he has lasted the full 90 minutes. And the only time he failed to do so was when he came off in the 89th minute of a league match.

Silva is showing his potential, which is why Benfica have protected him with a €100million release clause. As things stand, his suitors will have to pay £87million if they want to prise him out of a contract that is due to last until 2027.

Now, it has emerged via O Jogo that Manchester United and Liverpool are two of the clubs who are monitoring Silva’s development.

Manchester City have emerged as another contender for the centre-back, adding another direct rival to the transfer battle.

Abroad, there have been suggestions of interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. Given the calibre of club looking at Silva, it seems clear that he can aim for the top at some stage in his career.

Antonio Silva should stay at Benfica for now

When exactly a transfer might occur is another question. It was only earlier this year that he signed his current contract with Benfica. He seems to be flourishing there. Hence, it may make sense to keep enjoying his regular gametime in his current surroundings.

In time, though, Antonio Silva could be a name that we hear a lot more of. And it could be in connection with some of the Premier League’s most elite clubs.

There are already plenty of options available to Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City at centre-back. The latter have the most cover there after adding Manuel Akanji to a department that already consisted of Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and John Stones.

Across Manchester, United have Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as their main options.

Liverpool, meanwhile, can call upon Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez, as well as Nat Phillips occasionally.

Clubs of their stature will always be keeping an eye to the future to see who could help ensure long-term success. With that in mind, Silva seems to have been identified as someone who could become part of a succession plan.

But only time will tell when and where he makes a transfer.

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