Man Utd handed Joao Neves boost as Benfica star responds to contract offer

Neves is admired across Europe (Picture: Zed Jameson/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Joao Neves has turned down Benfica’s offer of a new contract amid interest from Manchester United.

United are keen to bring in a new midfielder this summer to replace Casemiro with clubs in Saudi Arabia interested in signing he Brazil international.

Neves has emerged as a transfer target for the Premier League side with reports in Portugal suggesting Benfica have already rejected an offer of £51million.

The 19-year-old has a release clause of £105m – the same fee Chelsea were forced to pay up for Enzo Fernandes 18 months ago – with Benfica desperate to keep him at the club for at least one more season.

Benfica have already discussed a new contract with the player with a salary increase, Record report. But Neves has rejected that proposal as speculation mounts over a summer move.

Should Neves leave, Benfica president Rui Costa wants a fee as close to that release clause as possible but the report suggests negotiations could start at £85m.

Neves has linked up with United captain Bruno Fernandes with both players set to feature for Portugal at this summer’s European Championship.

Neves’ stock could rise further at the Euros (Picture: Getty Images)

Fernandes has previously hailed the rise of the young midfielder, believing United should be in the market for his services.

But Bernardo Silva, also in the Portugal squad, has urged Neves to consider a move to Manchester City.

‘It’s not easy. He’s a player who, due to the success he had last season, has many clubs that want him,’ Silva said.

‘As a Portuguese and a player I like, I would like to see him by my side. But I want the best for him.

‘I don’t need to convince him. João Neves is already convincing, with the way he works, with the energy he brings to the game.

‘It will be easy for many clubs to enter the race. Let him make his decision, let it be the best for him. If he continues with this energy, he has a very good future ahead of him.’

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