Manchester United’s needs in the current transfer market are clear and so far the club has been looking to meet them in a systematic manner.

Matthijs de Ligt has been named in defence, Joshua Zirkzee is the target of attack, while Manuel Ugarte has caused most of the chaos in midfield.

However, with Casemiro on the transfer list, Christian Eriksen unhappy with his role as a substitute and Sofyan Amrabat now officially a Fiorentina player since July 1, the team needs more than just Ugarte in midfield.

It is worth noting that the hype surrounding the Uruguayan has increased after interest in another midfielder was reduced.

It seems that United have not withdrawn from the race at all, but are instead focusing more on other goals while working on the previous one.

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Third Portuguese at Old Trafford

Portuguese daily Correio de Manha reports that Manchester United’s bid of £59 million for Benfica SL ace Joao Neves was recently rejected.

Paris Saint-Germain have made a bid of a similar amount, but in England, United are the only club to formalise their interest by submitting a bid.

Manchester United are known to be a big fan of the young defensive midfielder, but the price Benfica have offered has proven prohibitive for now.

Neves has a release clause of around £102m, which is clearly beyond United’s means, particularly in the current transfer window due to issues with profit and sustainability rules.

Benfica insist they will want the full release clause paid if they get rid of Neves, as did Chelsea who signed Enzo Fernandez.

As a result, Manchester United have turned their attention to the more affordable Ugarte from Paris Saint-Germain, and that deal looks set to go through quickly.

The irony of this deal is that United could ultimately give the Ligue 1 champions enough money to sell Ugarte and buy Neves in his place.

Unfortunately, there is nothing United can do about it unless they organise a sale of their own products first and attack the Neves case with a weaponised chest.

Players like Marcus Rashford, whose asking price has been set, would completely alleviate United’s financial problems on their own with a sale. That sum could then be reinvested in problem positions like defensive midfield.

Manchester United’s Portuguese Links

United have a history of Portuguese players and Neves’ tactics at the club would certainly see him achieve even better results if he joined the team.

Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes are the epitome of that success, but in Nani and Diogo Dalot there are four players who have played some of the best games of their careers under the Old Trafford floodlights.

Joel Pereira looks back at five Portuguese players who have played for the club. Neves, still just 19, is the type of player United could build their midfield around for the next decade.

In Mainoo and him they would have a unique pair of teenagers who are considered good enough to play in world-class teams on a weekly basis.

It is an enviable position for most European players, which is why Benfica are relentless in their demands for the player they regard as their crown jewel.

Ultimately, United may have to try to convince the player to stay at Benfica this year and resume talks next year when they will hopefully be in a better financial and squad-wise position.

Ugarte is a good and underrated signing, but Neves is the kind of player teams build around and doesn’t come around often. If waiting is the way to finally get him, they shouldn’t hesitate to lay the groundwork and make him the sixth Portuguese player to represent United.

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