Nemanja Matic tells Man Utd target Joao Neves to snub transfer | Football

Benfica starlet Joao Neves has been heavily linked with Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Nemanja Matic has urged Manchester United transfer target Joao Neves to ‘stay at Benfica for a few more years’ as he believes ‘it’s too early’ for the midfielder to leave his boyhood club.

Neves, 19, broke into Benfica’s first-team squad last season and has since established himself as a mainstay in Roger Schmidt’s starting XI, making 49 appearances in all competitions this term.

It’s understood Neves’ outstanding performances have caught the attention of some of Europe’s elite teams, with the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and United credited with a strong interest in the youngster.

However, Neves has a an eye-watering £105million release clause in his contract in Lisbon, which runs through to 2028, and Benfica are determined to keep hold of the Portugal international beyond the summer.

Addressing the speculation over Neves’ future in January, Benfica head coach Schmidt said he was adamant that the teenage midfielder remained committed to the club for the foreseeable future.

Neves himself, meanwhile, has been keen to swerve the questions over his future and, instead, focus on the task at hand at Benfica, with the Portuguese champions trailing Primeira Liga leaders Sporting by seven points in the table.

‘I promise to do my best in every training session, in every game, and I think that is one of my greatest qualities,’ he recently told reporters when quizzed on rumours he could leave.

‘I’m focused on Benfica and even more so on our next game. i think I will do my best in every game and in every training session.”

Nemanja Matic looks on

Neves is not ready to join an elite European team, according to Matic (Picture: Getty)

Lyon midfielder Matic, formerly of Benfica and United, feels Neves would risk hampering his development by leaving Portugal for the bright lights of a European giant in the summer transfer window.

Speaking to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, the Serbian insisted Benfica were a ‘big club’ and urged the young midfielder to stay put for the time being.

‘I think it’s too early for him to take that step of leaving,’ Matic said.

Benfica star Joao Neves

The Portugal international is regarded as one of the most promising youngsters in Europe (Picture: Getty)

‘If it were him, I would stay at Benfica for a few more years to play in the Champions League and to mature more.

‘I’m sure his time will come and, therefore, he doesn’t need to rush.

‘Joao is already at a big club at this point. I’m sure his future at Benfica will be very good.

‘I think it’s too early to leave, but of course, in the end, it’s always his decision.’

It’s clear Bruno Fernandes holds a different view to Matic regarding Neves, with the United captain recently arguing that his fellow countryman is ready for a ‘big jump’ to a top team.

‘I don’t know if the United rumours are true, but I know he is ready for that big jump,’ Fernandes said last month.

‘He is an excellent player, he’s with the national team. That’s also why the big clubs are after him.’

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