Manchester United move for 'priority target' in doubt as Fabrizio Romano provides update on £102m midfielder

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Your round-up of the latest Man Utd headlines with less than 10 days until the summer transfer window opens.

Manchester United look set for another busy and expensive summer as they bid to re-assert themselves among the top Premier League teams. Erik ten Hag may have overseen FA Cup glory with a victory over rivals Manchester City but the Dutchman remains under pressure, having only managed to achieve an eighth-placed finish that means no European football next season.

The lack of continental competition will likely present an issue going into the summer as new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe plans to stamp his authority on the playing squad. Whether Ten Hag is around to oversee the recruitment process remains to be seen but there will be plenty of new arrivals at Old Trafford regardless and ManchesterWorld has rounded up some of the latest headlines surrounding the club.

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Branthwaite doubts

United’s summer pursuit of Jarrad Branthwaite has been thrown into doubt amid reports of a significant gap in valuation between them and Everton. GiveMeSport reports that Branthwaite remains a ‘top transfer target’ of those in charge at Old Trafford but the reality of being able to afford him is by no means a given.

Branthwaite has emerged as one of the Premier League’s most promising young central defenders over the past 12 months, featuring regularly for an Everton side boasting one of the best defensive records. The 21-year-old’s form earned him a call-up to the England squad this month and he won his first cap during the 3-0 friendly win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday.

Everton are thought to value their defender at £80million and will not entertain offers below £70m, which is some way higher than the £50mn valuation held by United. Centre-back remains a top priority for those in charge at Old Trafford, with Raphael Varane set to leave as a free agent while the likes of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof could also move on. Lisandro Martinez will stay on board but has suffered with countless injury issues over the course of the season.

Neves price-tag

Benfica look to be operating a hardline stance on interest in their young midfielder Joao Neves, a long-term target of United’s. Fabrizio Romano reports that the Portuguese club will not entertain negotiations and so it will take the activation of his €120m (£102m) release clause for potential suitors to do a deal.

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Like Branthwaite, Neves is hot property across Europe after an outstanding campaign with Benfica, registering 55 appearances across all competitions including the Champions League. The 19-year-old has also been called up to the Portugal squad for this summer’s European Championships and is expected to build on his six caps.

With Casemiro currently expected to leave and receiving interest from the Saudi Pro League, United will need to prioritise midfield reinforcements and have long been monitoring Neves. But they will likely face competition from Arsenal and Manchester City, with Benfica hopeful of keeping the teenager and unwilling to enter discussions. A move for the midfielder could see him partner with Kobbie Mainoo in midfield, keeping in line with Ratcliffe’s plan to invest in youth.