Sir Jim Ratcliffe to 'approve record-breaking bid' for £103m Man Utd target after Bruno Fernandes request

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Manchester United could eclipse the £89m they spent on Paul Pogba with a busy summer ahead.

Manchester United could break their transfer record this summer with reports suggesting that Sir Jim Ratcliffe could 'approve' a bid for Benfica's Joao Neves.

United have been heavily linked with a move for Neves over the past few months, with the 19-year-old continuing to impress since succeeding the £105million Chelsea-bound Enzo Fernandez in the heart of midfield. He has already become a crucial player at Benfica and earned call-ups to the Portuguese national team.

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A move away from Lisbon is looking increasingly likely this summer as interest intensifies and The Sunday Mirror reports that Ratcliffe 'looks set to approve' what will be a club-record bid. Neves has a release clause of around £103m and it is expected that any potential suitor will have to activate that.

If such a signing went ahead, it would eclipse the £89m United spent to re-sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016. Ratcliffe is eyeing that kind of statement signing to give the club an early boost in the summer and stamp his authority on the club.

United will have done their fair share of scouting on Neves over the past few months but will take comfort in an endorsement from their own club captain. Bruno Fernandes has been able to experience the teenager's quality first-hand while away with Portugal this season and suggested in November that love to see him at Old Trafford.

"It has to be the Man United coach who says whether he has a place or not," Fernandes said when asked about a potential move for Neves. "He’s a great player, I don’t know if he would have a place or not. It depends on the coach and his ideas.

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"But he’s an excellent player and an excellent kid, very professional, he will have a bright future wherever he goes. I would love to have him by my side. Because he has quality and will have a bright future. It depends on him. What I want most is the best for him."

Central midfield will be a key area to strengthen at United this summer amid concerns over the longevity of their current crop. Casemiro and Christian Eriksen both turned 32 last month and are among a host of first-team players who could be sold.

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