“Could 100% play for Manchester United” – Martinez addresses 19-year-old’s future

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“Could 100% play for Manchester United” – Martinez addresses 19-year-old’s future

Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez insists that Benfica midfielder Joao Neves “100%” has what it takes to “play for Manchester United”.

Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez has insisted that Joao Neves “100%” has what it takes to “play for Manchester United” at some stage in the future.

The 19-year-old, who made 55 appearances for Benfica during the 2023-24 campaign, is believed to be Man United’s leading midfield target this summer.

Neves is currently with the Portugal squad preparing for Euro 2024, and he is being tipped to play an important role for his country at the tournament in Germany.

There is a €120m (£101.9m) release clause in the youngster’s contract, with Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano writing on X that Benfica are still hopeful of keeping hold of him.

There is said to be firm interest from Man United, though, with the Red Devils expected to bring at least one central midfielder to the club during the summer transfer window.

© Reuters

Martinez backs Neves to play for Man United

Martinez has insisted that Neves has the required quality to play for a team of Man United’s ilk.

“Joao Neves could 100% play for Manchester United. Everything comes into his stride, the quicker the game, the better the opposition, the better his decisions are,” he told FIVEUK.

“He’s an intelligent midfielder. He is a six, but he can be an eight. He can get into the box, get into finishing situations. But his work is more about to be tactically in the right positions centrally.

“Technically very, very strong, both feet and he has got a very low centre of balance, so he can protect the ball very well. It’s probably the next 50 games that is important in his career.”

Neves has already made 75 appearances for Benfica, scoring four times and registering three assists in the process, while he has been capped on six occasions by Portugal.

Manchester United's Casemiro looks dejected after the match on May 6, 2024© Reuters

Which midfielders could leave Man United this summer?

Despite the speculation surrounding Bruno Fernandes, it would be a huge shock to see the club captain leave this summer, while Kobbie Mainoo is certain to remain at Old Trafford.

Mason Mount will also be hoping to put a tough season behind him, while Scott McTominay proved his worth during the 2023-24 campaign and is also likely to stay at the club.

Casemiro and Christian Eriksen are both being tipped to move on, though, and there will also be a departure for Donny van de Beek, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The club also need to make a decision on Sofyan Amrabat, who spent last season on loan at the club from Fiorentina.

Amrabat found it difficult for long stages of the campaign, but the 27-year-old impressed in the final months, including a strong performance against Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

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