Man Utd given transfer 'talks' update by club over 'target' with £103m release clause

A club have denied holding talks with Manchester United for one of their star players

Portuguese champions Benfica have issued an emphatic statement to deny they have held talks with Manchester United over a potential move for key midfielder Joao Neves.

United have been linked with the 19-year-old defensive midfielder, who has established himself as a regular starter with the 38-time Primeira Liga champions. He has made 29 appearances in all competitions this season and is under contract with Benfica until the summer of 2028 with reports his release clause sits at a staggering £103million.

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Defensive midfield is an area which United need to address in the coming transfer windows with Casemiro turning 32 next month while Sofyan Amrabat is only on loan for the remainder of the season. Benfica have made some huge profits from Premier League clubs in recent seasons with the likes of Darwin Nunez and Enzo Fernandez making big-money moves to England from the club.

However, Neves - for now - does not appear to be the next big sale from the champions of Portugal as they released a statement to deny reports they had entered talks with United regarding the player.

A club statement read: “Benfica denies the existence of any right of first refusal over its player Joao Neves. Under no circumstances has Benfica started talks with Manchester United or any other club about this player from their academy – nor does it intend to do so – so any information that points in the other direction is false.”

The statement from Benfica follows on from manager Roger Schimdt's plea last month that none of the club's key players would be allowed to leave in January.

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He said: "We are halfway through the season and we have big goals. We certainly won't let any of these players leave. We need them and no one wants to leave, so there's no question. I talk to them every day, all of them. We're in the middle of the season, we have big goals with Benfica. Of course we're not going to let these players leave, we need them and they don't want to leave. There's no question about that."

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