Man Utd ‘determined’ to sign star with world-class potential as Everton chase €30m team-mate

Everton-linked Florentino Luis, Man Utd target Joao Neves

Florentino Luis and Joao Neves could both move this summer

Benfica might have to cope without two of their biggest talents next season as Manchester United are gunning to sign Joao Neves while Everton are pursuing one of his team-mates, according to reports.

Benfica have one of the best academies in the world, having produced top-class players such as Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Joao Felix, Ederson and Joao Cancelo, among plenty of others. The Portuguese giants now have a new crop of exciting starlets, which includes Neves.

The 19-year-old is one of the most sought-after defensive midfielders in Europe as he is excellent at winning possession back for his team and is also great on the ball. Neves may only be 5ft 9in tall, but he is also good at winning aerial duels.

Neves’ great performances for Benfica have seen him force his way into the Portugal squad while also emerging as a transfer target for some major clubs.

Man Utd are the side who have been most heavily linked with him, while Arsenal began monitoring his situation recently.

Last week, the teenager was backed to snub Arsenal for Man Utd as he is more likely to walk straight into the starting eleven at Old Trafford.

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According to the latest reports emerging from Portugal, Man Utd remain the frontrunners to sign Neves this summer.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Man Utd are ‘very determined’ to bring Neves in as they view him as the perfect midfield partner for academy graduate Kobbie Mainoo.

Man Utd transfers: Benfica wonderkid eyed by Ratcliffe

Benfica know the teenager has world-class potential and have resultantly tied him down to a long-term contract which includes a huge €120million (£102m) exit clause.

Ratcliffe will not want to pay that amount under any circumstances, but the clause still puts Benfica in a very strong negotiating position. If Ratcliffe wants to add Neves to Man Utd’s squad, then he will need to pay a major fee, potentially as much as £60-70m.

It must be noted that Neves is not the only Benfica starlet Man Utd are casting admiring glances towards, as they also like the look of centre-back Antonio Silva.

Plus, Neves could be followed to the Premier League by fellow midfielder Florentino Luis.

Everton held talks with Benfica about a deal for the 24-year-old in January but were unable to strike an agreement. The Portuguese press states that Everton are back in the mix for Florentino and could soon launch a €30m (£25.5m) bid for him.

Given Florentino’s age and the fact he has already made over 130 senior appearances for Benfica, the former Portugal youth international may feel this summer is the right time to kick on and try himself out in the Prem.

Florentino could help Everton replace Amadou Onana, who continues to be linked with a big-money move away from Goodison Park this summer.

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