Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has revealed significant details regarding Manchester United’s potential record-breaking £105 million transfer for Benfica sensation Joao Neves.
Despite being just 19 years old and primarily operating in a deeper midfield role, Neves has secured a regular starting position at the Portuguese giant Benfica. He has already earned three caps for the Portuguese national team, competing with established players like Joao Palhinha from Fulham.
TEAMtalk previously reported in October that Manchester United was scouting Neves, a claim later confirmed by Fabrizio Romano. Portuguese outlet Record indicated that Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is keen on adding Neves to his squad, hinting at a potential transition period for the aging Casemiro, whom Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly open to releasing. Ratcliffe, set to acquire a 25 percent stake in United, aims for a squad “reset,” according to The Sun.
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In a recent update, Romano disclosed that Benfica has “no intention” of entertaining inquiries for Neves in the January transfer window. However, Neves’ contract includes a release clause of €120 million, equivalent to £105 million at the current exchange rate.
Chelsea previously utilized a similar release clause to sign Enzo Fernandez last winter, bypassing negotiations with Benfica. Romano suggests that Manchester United could follow suit by activating Neves’ release clause, but financial considerations pose a challenge, as this would exceed the club’s current transfer record held by Paul Pogba (£89 million).
To finance such a move, lucrative sales to Saudi Arabia, including players like Raphael Varane and Casemiro, are considered. Varane has reportedly received approaches from Saudi sides, and the demotion in the center-back pecking order could lead to his exit. Players like Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial are also rumored to be available for a transfer in the winter window.
Despite Ten Hag’s conviction in Neves, the significant financial commitment for a player with limited senior experience raises doubts about an immediate move in January. Romano suggests that if Benfica remains unyielding in January, negotiations for a lower fee may be attempted in the summer rather than activating the £105 million release clause.