Injuries have played a pivotal role in Manchester United’s poor start to the season but manager Erik ten Hag has also been let down by the underwhelming displays from his talismans.
One among them being Casemiro, whose arrival last season had transformed the team’s fortunes and he single-handedly at times dragged the team to victory.
However, in the current campaign, the Brazilian has focussed more on the attacking aspect of his game and far too often abandoned his post.
United have conceded a fair few goals through counter-attacks with the former Real Madrid superstar struggling to track runners and run back to cover ground.
There have even been calls to sell the Brazil international with Saudi Arabian clubs sniffing around. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is set to become a minority stakeholder, is said to be unhappy with the club’s outlay on the 31-year-old.
But the favourite for the role seems to Joao Neves of Benfica whose name is gaining traction among Portuguese media outlets.
He is already a regular for Benfica, making 18 appearances across all competitions while scoring one and assisting another.
Only recently United skipper Bruno Fernandes spoke about how much he wanted the 19-year-old to join him at Old Trafford considering his immense potential.
Cross-town rivals Manchester City are also monitoring the teen sensation and compatriot Bernardo Silva has now indicated that he would try and talk the Benfica ace out of a move to United to come join him at the Etihad Stadium.
Silva wants United target Joao Neves to join him at City
“I am very happy for Joao and other kids who are appearing in Benfica’s team and also in the national team,” Silva was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.
“Joao Neves in the Premier League? I think that players with quality can play in any championship. I see him very focused on his club, which is the most important thing at the moment, a very young player but with a very promising future ahead of him.
“For City instead of United? If I can, I will pull strings to Joao Neves to go to Man City. I’d like to see João joining City instead of Man United, of course.”
Neves’ current deal keeps him at Benfica until 2028 and his market value stands at €20 million as per Transfermarkt.
It will take a mega bid to prise him away from the Estádio da Luz and it seems another Manchester showdown could be on the cards for the transfer of Neves.