Report: Manchester United’s opening £51 bid for Benfica whizkid rejected

SL Benfica v FC Arouca - Liga Portugal Betclic
SL Benfica v FC Arouca - Liga Portugal Betclic / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

According to the Portuguese newspaper Record, Manchester United have tabled an opening offer for Benfica starlet Joao Neves. They are understood to have submitted an offer of £51 for the player, which has been rejected straightaway by Benfica.

The Red Devils, under new minority owners INEOS, are keen on strengthening the midfield unit in the summer market. With Casemiro having a poor second season at Old Trafford and injury concerns, the Brazilian international has been heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia. After his snub in the FA Cup final against Manchester City earlier this month, he is expected to be moved on.

Manchester United have prepared a list of replacements for Casemiro, with Benfica’s Joao Neves featuring high on the list. Neves, 19, is one of Europe’s most sought-after exciting young players and has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford over the past year.

The Portugal international has a release clause at around £85 million, and Record claims that this is the figure that Benfica are presently demanding to sell their main asset, with president Rui Costa not hesitating before rejecting Man United’s opening offer. The 20-time English champions are unlikely to trigger the teenager’s release clause anytime soon, however, they could include add-ons to bring the price down if they plan to make another bid.

Benfica are aware of Man United’s interest in Neves and had even put out a statement in January that there was no pre-agreement between the two clubs for the midfielder. They wish to offer Neves a new contract with a salary hike to reflect his importance to Roger Schmidt’s side. The report adds the Portuguese club are also relying on the defensive midfielder’s value increasing at the 2024 European Championships.

INEOS’ interest in Joao Neves clear

By submitting a rather modest offer than expected, INEOS headed by Sir Jim Ratcliffe have made their interest in Neves clear. Multiple European clubs are also in the race for the Portuguese starlet’s signature and our club must act decisively to secure his services.

If Man United can negotiate well with Benfica and get Neves signed on the dotted lines, it would be a massive statement from INEOS in their first summer transfer window.