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Benfica denies Manchester United contact despite Bruno Fernandes plea



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Portuguese giants Benfica have denied having any contact with Manchester United about their midfielder João Neves.

João Neves, 19, is being viewed by many as a long-term replacement for Casemiro, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS group are looking to pivot United’s transfer strategy to acquiring young talent with potential rather than names that come with big wages.

United’s captain, Bruno Fernandes, has been a long-time admirer of Neves ever since the energetic midfielder made his debut for Portugal last year. Bruno has spoken about his desire to bring the teenager to Old Trafford, “I would love to have him at United, he has top quality!

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“I would really like to have him by my side because he has quality and will have a bright future. It depends on him. What I want most is the best for him.”

However, despite what the Red Devils’ current Portuguese maestro might want or what has been reported in recent days, Benfica’s No. 87 looks like he’ll be staying at The Eagles this month.

This is because Benfica released a statement this afternoon saying:

“Sport Lisboa e Benfica denies the existence of any right of preference over its player João Neves.

Under no circumstances has Sport Lisboa e Benfica started to talk with Manchester United or any other club about this player from its formation – nor does it intend to do so – so any information that points to another direction is false.”

Neves helped guide Benfica to their first Primeira Liga title in four years last season, so it’s understandable why they are reluctant to let such a talent go.

With his current contract lasting until 2028, as well as being branded with a €100 million release clause, United will have to propose a decent fee to grab the Portuguese side’s attention, but following the statement, it seems that any move will have to be made in the summer.