Man Utd dealt crushing blow in Joao Neves chase as Benfica issue club statement

Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith
  • 16 Jan 2024 16:11 GMT
  • 3 min read
Joao Neves, Benfica
© ProShots

Portuguese giants SL Benfica have denied that Manchester United are currently in talks with talented midfielder Joao Neves over a possible move in 2024.

The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the most promising teenagers in European football and has been heavily linked with a move away over the past six months.

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Man Utd are the club with the highest level of interest in Neves, according to reports, while Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha have reported that the Red Devils’ desire to land the midfielder had intensified in recent days.

Neves has been touted as a long-term replacement for Brazil international Casemiro, who has missed the majority of the 2023-24 season due to injury.

However, his current club have moved to stop any transfer talk in its tracks.

In an unusual move, Benfica issued a club statement to dismiss any reports that Neves may leave in order to move to Old Trafford. “Sport Lisboa e Benfica denies the existence of any right of preference over its player Joao Neves,” the statement began.

"Under no circumstances did Sport Lisboa e Benfica enter into talks with Manchester United or any other club about this player - nor does it intend to do so. Any information that points in another direction is false.”

Man Utd want Benfica’s Joao Neves

Joao Neves, Benfica
© ProShots - Joao Neves, Benfica

According to recent reports, Man Utd youngster Alvaro Fernandez’s loan spell at Granada was ended in order for him to join Benfica on loan, with that decision enabling Erik ten Hag’s side to lead the charge to sign Neves.

However, the Portuguese side have publicly stated that isn’t the case.

Despite this, Man Utd are undoubtedly still interested in signing Neves, whom they believe is capable of becoming one of Europe’s very best.

Sofyan Amrabat’s loan move from Fiorentina hasn’t gone as planned and the Portugal international could become the perfect midfield partner for fellow youngster Kobbie Mainoo at Old Trafford.

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