Liverpool entering race for midfielder could prevent Manchester United from making £103m mistake

Liverpool targeting João Neves a good thing for Manchester United

As reported by The Sun, Liverpool are planning to get Manchester United target João Neves in the summer in attempt to further bolster their midfield for Jürgen Klopp’s successor.

The young Benfica midfielder has become the next big thing at the Estádio da Luz in no time, having made his senior professional debut only in December 2022.

After the departure of Enzo Fernández to Chelsea, Neves has gone on to establish himself as a vital cog in Roger Schmidt’s setup, having even earned in the process five caps for the Portugal senior national team.

Liverpool targetting João Neves a good thing for Manchester United. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)
Fernandez has found life hard ever since arriving at Stamford Bridge for £107 million last year. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

As is the norm in Portuguese football, Neves’ contract has a release clause valued at £103 million. Benfica naturally intend to give him a new contract with a higher release clause but may find it hard to convince the youngster amidst strong interest from the Premier League.

Alongside Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have also been tracking the progress of the 2004-born footballer.

Liverpool unlikely to take the plunge for Neves

It is true that Liverpool need a long-term solution for their defensive midfield. Wataru Endō, having been brought to Anfield last season after the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, is 31 years old and cannot be deemed a long-term answer.

Liverpool have proven themselves to be shrewd and forward-thinking with their team-building in the recent years, so expect them to find a solution for this quandary sooner rather than later.

For that very same reason, however, Liverpool are unlikely to activate Neves’ £103m release clause. The Reds rarely make big-money signings, and when they do go for them, they make sure to recoup most of the transfer fee from player departures and have no other big-money move lined up in the same window.

That’s not to say that their interest is not a good thing for Man United. Not only will increased competition from better-placed teams force the Red Devils to look elsewhere, it’s likely it would tempt someone like Chelsea, currently famous for their profligate proclivities, to swoop in and pluck away Neves from Liverpool’s grasp by breaking the bank yet again to activate the release clause.

Unless Liverpool plan extensively, don’t expect João Neves to end up at Anfield.

The Red Devils need to think differently

In the last decade, Man United have established themselves as being very good at making big-money signings without any proper plan to utilise them. From Paul Pogba to Antony, the tales here are a dime a dozen.

As they turn a new leaf with the INEOS ownership, United need to become savvy operators in the market if they truly intend to return to the summit. If their recent attempt at revamping their footballing structure is anything to go by, the Red Devils are likely to deviate away from the practices of the recent past.

Liverpool targetting João Neves a good thing for Manchester United.  (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)
Targetting the likes of Omar Berrada, Dan Ashworth, and Jason Wilcox is a sign of good things to come from Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Co. (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

In the face of state wealth the likes of which Man City and Newcastle United boast, United need to take a leaf out of Liverpool’s books, bitter as that may be to admit, and learn to how to carefully move their limited resources around, improve their scouting, and refrain from splashing huge money on just one player.

In time, we will see whether all the preparation the new United owners have been showcasing finally result in a system capable of making football-wise decisions at Old Trafford.

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For now, United would like to hurt Liverpool’s title chances on Sunday, as they host them for an afternoon Premier League affair.