Man Utd transfer news: Liverpool’s Champions League advantage in race for Benfica’s Joao Neves

Peter Staunton

  • 31 Mar 2024 14:37 BST
  • 3 min read
Joao Neves, Benfica, 2023/24

Joao Neves was on the scoresheet for Benfica on Friday night in the 1-0 Liga Portugal win against Chaves.

The 19-year-old Portugal midfielder is enjoying a breakout campaign with his boyhood club, and could yet lead the team to the league title.

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Benfica are only a single point behind Sporting CP at the top of the table with a huge derby looming next week.

READ MORE: Exclusive – Man Utd track Juventus & England U21 star Samuel Iling-Junior

Neves renewed his Benfica contract in August, earning a pay rise and an increased buyout clause but the duration remained the same as his previous deal, 2028.

Manchester United and Chelsea have been mentioned as long-term suitors for Neves but now news has emerged of another Premier League contender for his signature.

Liverpool’s advantage over Man Utd in Neves race

Liverpool enjoy good relationships with Benfica owing to the transfer of Darwin Nunez back in 2022 and owners FSG have recently tried to entice Benfica technical director Pedro Marques to join the post-Jurgen Klopp revolution.

And now the Reds have been mentioned by O Jogo as the new potential destination for €120 million-rated Neves.

There is one crucial factor in Liverpool’s favour with the club pushing hard for the Premier League title.

With United well adrift of the top four and Chelsea languishing in mid-table, Liverpool are the ONLY interested Premier League club who could guarantee Neves Champions League football next season.

Joao Neves Benfica
© IMAGO – Joao Neves Benfica

Liverpool are going to be operating under new sporting director Richard Hughes by June and there is significant transfer activity expected.

The Reds overhauled their midfield last summer, with Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Dominik Szoboszlai all arriving but an injury crisis this season has led to game time for plenty of the club’s talented but inexperienced under-18 and under-23 players.

Neves, a five-cap international, boasts strong pedigree and is already a mainstay of the Benfica midfield.

Given his age, he could also dominate the midfield for the decade ahead.

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