Euro Paper Talk: Man Utd given hope of striking sensational £103m midfielder deal but Ratcliffe to be tested; Arsenal ‘pressing’ to sign dynamic LaLiga attacker

Joao Neves, Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Sir Jim Ratcliffe remains keen on bringing Joao Neves to Man Utd this summer

Manchester United have been given a lift over their bid to sign a top Benfica talent this summer, despite the Portuguese club standing firm over a potential £103million transfer, while Arsenal are pushing to sign a top LaLiga winger – all in Thursday’s edition of Euro Paper Talk.  

UNITED TARGET HINTS AT SUMMER SWITCH

Conflicting reports coming out of Portugal appear to suggest that Manchester United still have hope of signing Benfica midfielder Joao Neves in the summer, although Sir Jim Ratcliffe may have some fierce negotiating to do.

A report this week from Portuguese outlet Record claimed that United have little chance in striking a transfer for the highly-rated 19-year-old.

But the player himself refused to rule out a summer exit when quizzed over his future when speaking to Sport TV.

Neves claims there is nothing certain about him staying with the Eagles for another season, although he remains fully committed for the remaining months of the current campaign.

The Portugal international said: “My desire at the moment is to finish the season in the best possible way, both individually and collectively. My desire at the moment is to stay at Benfica. Then you never know, I can’t promise anything.”

Earlier this year, Benfica actually even released an official statement making it clear that United do not have a priority to buy Neves, dismissing reports from England.

However, United’s interest has been reported for some time now and it appears they are determined to try and strike a deal this summer.

Neves still has £103m exit clause in place

That determination is likely to be tested in a major way by Benfica though, with Ratcliffe likely to have to offer big money to convince the Portuguese giants into a sale.

Neves currently has a release clause that stands at a whopping €120m (£103m)and Benfica are so far refusing to budge over that figure.

The midfield talent has scored twice and provided two assists in 35 games in all competitions this season, and although those stats are not exactly eye-opening he’s all-round play has been outstanding.

Ratcliffe, who hopes to have Dan Ashworth on board as the club’s new sporting director soon, is keen to revamp a United midfield that has often lacked quality and dynamism this term – although the emergence of Kobbie Mainoo has been one massive plus for the club.

The likes of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro could both make way for new additions this summer, while United are not expected to take up Sofyan Amrabat’s option to buy.

To that end, Neves could form an explosive new midfield partnership alongside Mainoo for whoever is in charge at Old Trafford next season, whether that’s Erik ten Hag or a new man at the helm.

IN FOCUSRanking the five players to ever move from Man Utd to Real Madrid after shock Marcus Rashford rumours

BARCELONA TARGET TRIO OF WINGERS

Barca have also put Gabriel Martinelli, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Kaoru Mitoma on their shortlist for summer additions to their squad. (Mundo Deportivo)

Juventus are considering a shock move for Real Madrid veteran Toni Kroos this summer. (La Stampa)

Real Madrid could make a move to sign Lille defender Leny Yoro, with Paris Saint-Germain struggling to reach an agreement for the Liverpool and Mad Utd target. (Diario Sport)

Roberto de Zerbi is trying to ‘gain ground’ in the race to become Barcelona’s manager next season, using his close circle and their contacts with the club to boost his cause. (Estadio Deportivo)

Arsenal’s Brazilian winger Marquinhos will seal a loan to Fluminense after documents were signed and his medical completed. (Fabrizio Romano)

Karim Benzema has been left out of Al Ittihad’s squad for their AFC Champions League game with Uzbekistani outfit Navbahor on Thursday amid a difficult relationship with his coach Marcelo Gallardo, sparking yet more rumours of a summer exit. (ESPN)

ARSENAL STEP UP CHASE FOR BILBAO STAR

Arsenal are ‘pressing’ to sign Athletic Bilbao star Nico Williams, who looks set to move on from the LaLiga side this summer. (Pipi Estrada)

Arsen Zakharyan and Nico Williams

Nico Williams (r) has been added to Arsenal’s ambitious wishlist

Barcelona are considering placing top Premier League target Frenkie de Jong on the transfer list this summer if the player does not accept the club’s contract renewal offer. (COPE)

Ajax defender Jorrel Hato, who has been heavily linked with Arsenal, will extend his contract after his 18th birthday. (ESPN)

Barcelona will attempt to bring in two midfielders this summer after identifying the position most in need of an upgrade. Everton’s Amadou Onana and Almeria’s Dion Lopy have both emerged as major targets. (Mundo Deportivo)

Real Madrid are already lining up Luka Modric’s exit this summer but are preparing to give the 38-year-old a grand send-off. (Football Espana)

Real Madrid are considering handing a new contract to third-choice goalkeeper Andriy Lunin after his impressive performances this season the absence of both Thibaut Courtois and Kepa. (Diario AS)

MLS side Inter Miami may be forced to sell players in the next week to fall in line with roster compliance ahead of the 2024 MLS season deadline. (Various)

AC Milan want to sign Schalke midfielder Assan Ouedraogo but are facing competition from Napoli, Bayern Munich, and Eintracht Frankfurt. (Calciomercato)