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Man Utd news: Ten Hag can use ‘January loan talks’ to secure first dibs on £103m wonderkid | Football | Sport

Manchester United are reportedly preparing an ambitious summer transfer swoop for Benfica star Joao Neves. The teenager has a whopping nine-figure release clause, but the Red Devils may be able to negotiate a favourable deal after sending one of their youngsters on loan to Portugal.

United starlet Alvaro Fernandez is yet to make a senior appearance for the club, despite impressing on two separate loan spells away from Old Trafford. The 20-year-old was a regular at Preston North End last season, and he has taken the step up to La Liga side Granada in his stride this term.

Now a full Spanish Under-21 international, Benfica are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Fernandez on loan with a mandatory £8.6million purchase clause. And United allowing the deal to progress quickly may ultimately work in their favour.

According to The Mirror, Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag is keen on Benfica’s emerging midfield maestro Joao Neves, with the club expected to hold talks before the summer transfer window.

Neves, 19, has racked up 28 appearances already this season and top clubs around Europe are taking note. The Portuguese international has an eye-watering £103m release clause which could be threatened in the summer.

United’s current dealings with Benfica could give them a significant advantage in the race for Neves. With Fernandez heading to Portugal for an affordable price tag, Ten Hag will hope to see the good will returned in due course.

Neves is adept at breaking up play and starting attacks from deep. His presence in midfield could give United a shot in the arm, with Donny van de Beek leaving on loan this January and Hannibal Mejbri set to follow.

Both players are expected to make their moves permanent come the end of the season. Fellow midfielders Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are in their thirties, suggesting new part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe could pursue a midfield revamp once he takes the reins.

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