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Manchester United-linked midfielder 'rejects' new contract offer from current club

Man United-linked midfielder 'rejects' contract offer from current club
© Reuters
Benfica midfielder Joao Neves reportedly turns down his club's offer of a new contract amid interest from Premier League giants Manchester United.

Benfica midfielder Joao Neves has reportedly turned down his club's offer of a new contract amid interest from Premier League giants Manchester United.

The 19-year-old gained many admirers playing in Portugal last season, featuring in 33 matches across the campaign, scoring three goals and registering two assists.

Neves primarily operates as a holding midfielder, a position that Man United are expected to look to strengthen ahead of the 2024-25 season.

United's Brazilian holding midfielder Casemiro had a mixed season and has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, while Sofyan Amrabat has yet to be offered a permanent deal at Old Trafford.

Owing to his impressive performances last term, Neves has been attracting interest from several big clubs across Europe, including the Red Devils, who have now received a boost in their pursuit of the talented teenager.

Benfica's Joao Neves in action on September 20, 2023© Reuters

Man United receive major boost in Joao Neves pursuit

According to Portuguese outlet Record, Benfica are keen to retain the services of Neves and opened discussions with him regarding new and improved terms. However, the midfielder has reportedly turned down the new proposal, fueling speculation of a summer transfer even further.

The report adds that Neves signed his most recent contract extension just last year, which includes a £105m release clause, and he is aware that a further agreement could see the club price him out of the market entirely.

It is understood that Benfica recently rejected a bid of around £51m from the Red Devils for the teenager, and indicated they would not entertain discussions of less than £85m for their in-demand midfielder.

Aside from United, Neves is also believed to be on the radar of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Ligue 1 champions Paris-Saint Germain.

Neves's current contract at Estadio do Benfica runs until the summer following the completion of the 2027-28 Primeira Liga season.

Joao Neves and Bruno Fernandes during the International Friendly on June 5, 2024© Imago

Neves to join Portugal teammates at Old Trafford in 2024-25?

Neves will spend the next few weeks with the Manchester United duo of Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot in the Portugal camp for the European Championship in Germany.

The United skipper spoke highly of his 19-year-old compatriot back in March, suggesting he would excel in the Premier League.

In a media interview, Fernandes said: "I don't know if the United rumors are true, but I know he is ready for that big jump.

"He is an excellent player, currently with the national team. That's also why the big clubs are pursuing him."

United are expected to undergo a major overhaul this summer, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe prioritising signing young and promising players, who are willing to adapt, as opposed to signing big names, which is something the club has been criticised for in recent years.

With Kobbie Mainoo poised to play a key role alongside his skipper in the United engine room next season, Neves could prove to be the perfect addition to complement the midfield.

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