“It’s too early for him”- Nemanja Matic advices Manchester United target to stay put amid transfer links

Nemanja Matić advises João Neves to stay a Benfica for now amid Manchester United interest

Nemanja Matić had some words of advice for João Neves in a recent interview with O Jogo, as reported by Manchester Evening News.

The former Man United and Benfica midfielder believes a move to the Premier League is too soon for the 19-year-old, who made his senior professional debut only in December 2022.

Neves has been attracting interest not only from Man United but also their rivals Chelsea and Liverpool. The more he continues to perform, the harder United might have to compete for his services.

Nemanja Matić advises João Neves to stay a Benfica for now amid Manchester United interest.
Ever since his debut, Neves has broken into the senior Portugal setup and become a mainstay in the Benfica midfield. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)

As someone who has played at Old Trafford, one might assuem Matic would push him to join the Red Devils. However, the veterna midfielder apepars to believe that the youngster still has much to leanr before taking the next step in his career.

“I think it’s too early for him to take that step of leaving. If I 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”

Matić speaking to O Jogo about Neves

Neves’ current contract has a release clause of £103 million, with Benfica looking to tie him to a new deal with an even bigger release clause. While he could cost more in the future, it could be counter-productive for both club and player should he make a move before he is ready.

If money talks, Neves will walk

Matić is not wrong; for a player with only one full season of senior professional football under his belt, Neves would not be hurting his chances one bit if he prolonged his stay at Benfica.

That, sadly, is not how things work. One could say his predecessor at the Estádio da Luz, Enzo Fernández, himself could have used a season or more at Benfica before making his Premier League move. But when the big sharks come in ready to match the three-figure price tags, it’s hard for both the club and the player to refuse such a proposition.

Nemanja Matić advises João Neves to stay a Benfica for now amid Manchester United interest. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
It’s been a baptism of fire for the Argentina international ever since his move to Chelsea in January last year. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

It’s silly money, after all; if it were offered to you, what would you do in Benfica’s stead?

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So yes, João Neves could use another season or two in Portugal, but there’s a good chance he won’t get to and will have to quickly adapt to a fast-paced, highly-competitive environment regardless of his preferences.