According to a report from Manchester Evening News, Chelsea have reportedly become a contender for Manchester United in the pursuit of Benfica’s talented midfielder, Joao Neves. As per the article, the West London club have now entered the race to secure the services of the highly-rated 19-year-old. Recent weeks have seen Neves being strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford but nothing has been concrete as of yet.
Speculation elsewhere has indicated that this young talent, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, has been identified as a potential successor to Casemiro in the long term. The Brazilian midfielder is set to turn 32 in February, and his performance levels have shown signs of decline during the current season.
Joao Neves’ Remarkable Rise at Benfica
Joao Neves embarked on his journey with Benfica’s youth academy at the tender age of 12 and steadily climbed the ranks, amassing several honors along the way. In the 2021/22 season, he was an integral part of the Benfica squad that clinched victory in the UEFA Youth League, marking a historic first for a Portuguese club in the competition. Last season, he had a breakout campaign that affirmed his value in the heart of the midfield, securing his position in the starting lineup for the current season.
At just 19 years old, Neves has already amassed 10 appearances for the Portuguese outfit across all competitions, contributing one assist in the process. In Liga Portugal, he maintains an average of 0.8 shots, 0.6 key passes, 0.5 successful dribbles, 1.5 tackles, 0.5 interceptions, and 0.9 clearances per game. His precision in distributing the ball to his teammates is noteworthy, as he has successfully completed 91.6% of his attempted passes in the Portuguese top flight (statistics sourced from Whoscored).
Can Erik Ten Hag Lure Him To Old Trafford?
Neves’ meteoric rise in the world of football is nothing short of remarkable, firmly establishing him as one of Europe’s premier young midfield talents. As a product of Benfica’s renowned youth academy, Neves embodies the potential for greatness.
What sets Neves apart is his multifaceted skill set, encompassing intelligence, pinpoint passing precision, and a commendable work ethic. He further solidifies his worth as a versatile midfielder, capable of excelling in various positions, a quality that renders him indispensable for any team, including the likes of Man United, Chelsea and even Manchester City.
Astoundingly, Joao Neves, at the tender age of 19, has already accomplished significant feats in his early career. His crucial contributions to both Benfica and the Portuguese national team serve as a testament to his potential to become one of the world’s elite midfielders.
Nonetheless, the Red Devils face stiff competition from Chelsea and Manchester City, both of whom are keen on acquiring this young prodigy. While the Blues present a formidable challenge, it’s worth noting that if the Sky Blues decide to secure his services, Man United’s prospects might dwindle, particularly given City’s recent triumphant season where they clinched a treble of titles.