Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ratcliffe pushes to sign thrilling £200m Man Utd targets for vastly reduced fees

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Joao Neves, Man Utd

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is pursuing two highly rated stars for Man Utd

Manchester United could sign Benfica talent Joao Neves and another highly rated European star this summer, though Sir Jim Ratcliffe will reportedly try to drive their price tags down.

Man Utd’s current crop of defensive midfielders includes Casemiro and Sofyan Amrabat. However, both players have endured disappointing campaigns and are highly likely to depart Old Trafford when the season concludes.

Amrabat will be allowed to return to parent club Fiorentina in the summer, as Man Utd will not take up their option to sign him permanently.

Casemiro, meanwhile, is already on Man Utd’s books, though that looks set to change in the near future.

Following the Brazilian’s disastrous performance at centre-back against Crystal Palace, pundit Jamie Carragher savagely labelled him ’embarrassing’ and said he simply must stop playing at the top level.

Carragher suggested Casemiro could head to Saudi Arabia or MLS next as he clearly does not have the legs to cut it in the Premier League anymore.

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Casemiro and Amrabat departing will leave space in the Man Utd squad for a new No 6 to arrive and partner Kobbie Mainoo. Benfica starlet Neves is understood to be a prime target for INEOS chief Ratcliffe.

On Thursday, it emerged that Neves is a ‘priority’ for Man Utd this summer as they hope to ‘rejuvenate’ their midfield ranks.

Man Utd transfers: Joao Neves, Antonio Silva both wanted

According to the latest reports emerging from Portugal, Man Utd are the best-placed club to sign both Neves and his Benfica team-mate Antonio Silva.

Just like in midfield, Man Utd need to improve their defensive options, and Portuguese centre-half Silva has been earmarked as a top replacement for Raphael Varane.

Ratcliffe has already held a meeting with super-agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the pair. He has found out that Benfica rate Neves and Silva extremely highly and hope to receive an eye-watering £200m through their potential sales.

While Neves and Silva both have fantastic potential, they are only 19 and 20 respectively, so Man Utd feel that huge price tag is inflated. As such, Ratcliffe will try to drive Benfica down from their massive demands and sign the Portugal internationals for far cheaper.

The reports do not mention an exact figure, but given how much Primeira Liga stars often go for, Man Utd may be hoping to do business at around £100m, rather than £200m.

£100m for Neves and Silva is still a lot of money, but Man Utd look set to save a huge amount on their wage bill when a host of players depart this summer.

The likes of Christian Eriksen, Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Jonny Evans and Antony could all follow Casemiro, Varane and Amrabat out of the exit door.

READ MORE: Seven Casemiro replacements Man Utd could buy this summer as they target perfect Kobbie Mainoo partner