Man Utd ‘send scouts’ to see 19yo score equaliser as Ten Hag ‘monitors’ progress ahead of January

Jason Soutar
Benfica teenager Joao Neves celebrates his goal against Sporting.
Joao Neves celebrates his goal against Sporting.

Manchester United had scouts in attendance to watch Benfica teenager Joao Neves in action against Sporting on Sunday, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Neves is the latest Benfica youngster to burst onto the scene and attract the attention of several top clubs across Europe.

Able to play in defensive, central, or attacking midfield, the 19-year-old has already played 39 times for the Portuguese giants and is now a regular starter under Roger Schmidt.

He scored his first goal of the season against Sporting over the weekend, netting a 94th-minute equaliser, three minutes before Casper Tengstedt’s dramatic winner.

Neves chose the right game to score a huge goal, with Manchester United scouts reportedly in attendance.

According to Romano, Erik ten Hag’s side are ‘monitoring’ the Portuguese starlet but will not push to sign him until the ownership situation has been resolved.

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He wrote on X: “Understand Manchester United scouts were in attendance at Benfica game vs Sporting to follow Joao Neves.

“Portuguese midfielder born in 2004 is being monitored by MUFC scouting department, waiting for board changes to make future decisions.”

There are a host of sides looking into signing Neves, who agreed a new five-year contract in August.

His release clause is reportedly worth a whopping £103million, and as we learned from the Enzo Fernandez saga, Benfica are unlikely to settle for anything less.

Portuguese outlet Record recently claimed that the Red Devils are interested in signing Neves in January, though Manchester City are also keen.

Ten Hag has plenty of options in central midfield but it is certainly a case of quantity over quality.

£70m signing Casemiro has been miles off the pace this season, while Sofyan Amrabat has failed to impress since joining on loan from Fiorentina in August.

Signing a new player in that position is expected to be a top priority for Ten Hag, who is also in need of a new centre-back.

Ten Hag has been forced to deal with several injuries this term and the latest to be ruled out for a period of time are Rasmus Hojlund and Christian Eriksen, who were both supposed to feature for Denmark during the international break.

A statement about the injuries on the club’s website read: “Christian has a knee injury that is set to keep him out for around a month, while striker Rasmus suffered a muscle strain. It is hoped he will return before the end of November.”

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