Benfica issue statement on Man Utd transfer link with Joao Neves | Football

Joao Neves is on Manchester United’s midfield shortlist (Getty)

Benfica have denied reports claiming that Manchester United have held talks over a deal for Joao Neves.

Over the weekend, reports claims that United are preparing to begin negotiations over a deal for the 19-year-old, who is regarded as one of the best young midfielders in Portugal.

Neves, however, has a €120 million (£105m) release clause in his deal with Benfica and the Portuguese club are adamant that they have no plans to sell the midfielder.

A statement from Benfica on Tuesday read: ‘Sport Lisboa e Benfica denies the existence of any right of preference over its player Joao Neves.

‘Under no circumstances did Sport Lisboa e Benfica enter into talks with Manchester United or any other club about this player from its formation – nor intends to do – so any information that points in another direction is false.’

Benfica midfielder Joao Neves

Joao Neves has a €120m (£105m) release clause in his deal with Benfica (Getty)

Speaking last month, Benfica’s head coach, Roger Schmidt, insisted that Neves and Antonio Silva, another player linked with United, would not move in the January transfer window.

‘I talk to them every day. Of course we have big goals for Benfica and of course we need them to do that,’ Schmidt said.

‘Nobody wants to leave, I have no doubt about that.’

Meanwhile, United midfielder Bruno Fernandes made it clear that he would welcome his Portugal teammate Neves at Old Trafford.

‘It has to be the Man United coach who says whether he has a place or not,’ Fernandes said in November.

‘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.

‘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.’

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