“Am very happy that he will be our first signing this year. He reminds of Andre Iniesta and he is very talented. We are friends already”-Bruno Fernandes is already a huge fan of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s £100m ‘first Manchester United transfer target’ as they on the verge if competing the signing.

Man United have reportedly identified Benfica midfielder Joao Neves as a top target ahead of next summer’s transfer window

Manchester United are reportedly preparing to begin their pursuit of Benfica starlet Joao Neves.The holding midfielder, 19, has emerged as one of the rising stars across European football. Neves has made a total 27 appearances so far this term, including six in the Champions League, and has been touted for a high-profile move in the near future. Benfica have Neves under contract until 2028, with his deal including an €120m (£103m) release clause.

Despite the hefty sums involved, it is reported that United have identified the Benfica prospect as a top target. The Mirror reports that United are set to “initiate talks” over a move for Neves, with a view to the player joining in the summer.

Following Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s purchase of a 25 per cent stake in the club and subsequently taking control of football operations, it is said that the Portugal international is viewed as a “priority investment”.

In an attempt to fend off any competition for Neves’ signature, The Mirror adds that United will soon “start the groundwork” over a move for the defensive midfielder. It is an area of the side that may well need reinforcements as Casemiro nears his 32nd birthday, combined with Sofyan Amrabat being a loan signing.

Benfica boss Roger Schmidt has insisted that none of his star players will be leaving during the January transfer window. However, United skipper Bruno Fernandes has already admitted he would be delighted to see Neves sign for the club.”I would love to have him at United, he has top quality!” Fernandes told Sport TV. “But it’s João’s choice. He’s a great player but it depends on the manager’s ideas! He will have a great future, in United or somewhere else.”MEN Sport revealed back in September that United will be targeting key signings in four areas next summer. Despite the recent signings of Amrabat and Mason Mount, one of those positions is expected to be centre-midfield.

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