£100m star tipped to snub Arsenal for Man Utd, as two crucial factors named

Joao Neves, Arsenal and Man Utd target

Arsenal could be left disappointed in their pursuit of Joao Neves, as two factors might see the Benfica star end up joining Manchester United instead.

Neves is a graduate of the Benfica academy who made his senior debut for the Portuguese giants in January 2023. Since then, the midfielder has gone on to play 74 times in the Benfica first team, chipping in with four goals and helping the club win one league title and the Portuguese Super Cup.

Neves’ brilliant performances have seen him force his way into the Portugal national team squad while also emerging as a target for several top European clubs.

The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the best young defensive midfielders in the world, as he is not only excellent on the ball but also likes to get stuck in and win possession back for his team.

Man Utd have been heavily linked with both Neves and his team-mate Antonio Silva – who plays as a centre-back – in recent months. On Thursday, it emerged that Man Utd have approached Silva’s camp about a possible move to Old Trafford.

But the Red Devils were stung recently as it emerged that Arsenal would provide them with competition for Neves.

Arsenal is unsure whether Martin Zubimendi will leave boyhood club Real Sociedad this summer and have earmarked Neves as a midfield alternative.

However, in a boost for INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Man Utd have been backed to win the race for the five-cap international.

Man Utd tipped to ruin Arsenal transfer

Portuguese pundits Luis Aguilar and Mariana Fernandes have appeared on TV in Neves’ home nation and are in agreement that the all-action midfielder will ultimately join Ratcliffe’s exciting project at Man Utd.

Aguilar thinks Man Utd have a much better chance of signing Neves as they have laid more groundwork for a potential deal. This includes preliminary discussions with the teenager’s agent, Jorge Mendes, as well as letting the player know they are interested.

Aguilar adds that ‘everything would be easier’ if Neves joined Man Utd, as he’d be more likely to secure a starting spot than at Arsenal.

Fernandes agreed with this sentiment, stating that Arsenal’s huge improvement in recent seasons would make it hard for Neves to make such a big impact at the Emirates.

As Man Utd are currently enduring midfield ‘terror’, Neves would be able to stroll into their starting eleven and end their issues.

Benfica rate their academy graduate incredibly highly and believe he is worth £100million, making him one of the most expensive teenagers on the planet. But Ratcliffe will try his hardest to bring Benfica down from that lofty asking price.

Man Utd signing Neves would delight club captain Bruno Fernandes. In a recent interview, Man Utd’s No 8 said: “I don’t know if [the] Man Utd rumours are true, but I know he is ready for that big jump.

“He is an excellent player, he’s with the national team. That’s also why the big clubs are after him.”

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