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Liverpool, Arsenal and Man Utd ‘leading the race’ to sign Joao Neves

João Neves and Antonio Silva

O Jogo, via the Liverpool Echo, has claimed that Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are ‘leading the race’ to sign Benfica midfielder Joao Neves this summer.

The 19-year-old has become one of the most in-demand players in Europe following a string of impressive displays for Benfica with a number of clubs lined-up to battle for his signature.

The Echo are citing a report from O Jogo that claims Neves is wanted by the likes of Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, but Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United are understood to be firmly in the driving seat.

However, Benfica will ‘demand’ any interested party pay Joao Neves’ release clause amounting to £102.3 million, so any deal won’t come cheap. The player is open to moving in the summer and a switch to the Premier League will surely appeal to the youngster if a deal can be agreed.

In-coming Liverpool boss Arne Slot is expected to be backed in the transfer market as they need some fresh faces in the squad if they are to challenge Arsenal and Manchester City for the Premier League next year.

The Dutchman is looking to add a defensive midfielder to his roster and Neves has emerged as a prime target.

Neves may prove too expensive

Unlike some other English clubs, Liverpool are not under terrible financial pressure heading into the transfer window, but a spending of over £100 million on just one player may be too big of an ask.

The Reds are expected to be in the market for a winger as well and have been linked with West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus. His transfer may see them fork out close to £80 million.

Likewise, Arsenal and Manchester United may also be priced out for a move for Neves. Arsenal, like Liverpool, may be hesitant to spend an exorbitant sum of money on just one position with other areas also needing strengthened.

United have made some costly acquisitions in recent years and a £102 million release clause may be a stretch for them despite Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s injection of funds into the club.

Benfica’s insistence at wanting £102.3 million could mean PSG remains Joao Neves’ only realistic choice, at least in this summer’s transfer window.

While very expensive, he is a generational talent nonetheless and could be a huge miss for the Premier League sides if they fail to land him this summer.

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