Benfica find themselves under increased pressure to sell midfield prodigy Joao Neves, who is wanted principally by Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

The Portuguese outfit are fighting to keep hold of their prized asset and continue to cling to the fact that he has a release clause worth €120 million.

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Man Utd and Arsenal appear to be willing to pay around half that figure but are unlikely to match the player’s release fee.

Benfica are, nevertheless, under pressure over Joao Neves’ future, partly brought on by a mistake they made themselves.

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Joao Neves in dispute with Benfica

According to local outlet A Bola, Benfica offered the 19-year-old a new deal that included an increased salary and a release fee of €150m.

Although there were discussions, these served only to frustrate the young talent. It is stated that the salary he was offered was considerably lower than some of Benfica’s biggest earners, which the youngster felt did not reflect his importance in the team.

It is stated that Joao Neves is “unlikely” to return to the negotiating table and that he will instead continue to earn around €500,000 per year on a deal that runs until 2028.

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Benfica's Joao Neves
© IMAGO – Benfica’s Joao Neves

But the situation grows more complicated for Benfica, who need to make sales.

Antonio Silva is not attracting the type of interest that they had hoped, and even if it is likely he departs, the type of fee they will receive is not as significant as they had hoped.

A Bola points out that this is likely to further increase the pressure on Benfica to sell Joao Neves, who is likely to be attracted to the Premier League by their “incomparably higher salaries”.

Manchester City, meanwhile, have been leaning on Bernardo Silva to act as an agent to broker a deal, giving them what might be a decisive advantage over Arsenal and Man Utd as they chase the midfield star.

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