Man Utd: Barcelona helpless as Mendes ‘takes’ £68m Casemiro replacement to Old Trafford

Joe Williams
Man Utd transfer target Joao Neves
Joao Neves has been linked with Man Utd and Barcelona.

Man Utd are set to beat Barcelona to the signing of Joao Neves thanks to his agent Jorge Mendes, according to reports in Spain.

The Red Devils are set for a summer of change after Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed a deal to buy 27.7 per cent of the club from the Glazers earlier this year.

As part of the agreement, Ratcliffe and INEOS were given control of the football operation as they look to overhaul the recruitment department and invest funds into the club’s infrastructure.

Omar Berrada will join as the club’s new CEO from arch-rivals Man City in the summer, while Southampton’s Jason Wilcox recently arrived as the new technical director at Old Trafford.

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But Ratcliffe is still waiting for another main piece of his Man Utd puzzle with Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth remaining on gardening leave as the Red Devils try to agree compensation to make him their new sporting director.

Ashworth’s arrival will complete Ratcliffe’s elite recruitment team as they get to work on identifying the best young talent in Europe rather than players who have already realised their potential.

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A number of Man Utd players will be moved on to free up wages and funds for new signings with Casemiro and Christian Eriksen those believed to be up for sale.

And now Spanish publication Nacional insists Man Utd already know who they want to bring to Old Trafford in central midfield with Benfica’s Neves their top target.

The report adds that the Portugal international’s agent, Mendes, ‘takes’ him to Man Utd for €80m (£68m) ‘without Barca being able to do anything’.

Barcelona ‘are not willing to pay’ their €80m minimum asking price with Mendes attempting to place Neves in a ‘much more powerful club’ than Benfica.

And now Man Utd ‘intends’ to buy Neves in the summer with Casemiro’s ‘days numbered’ at Old Trafford and Barcelona ‘will not be his next adventure’.

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Former CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs recently revealed the latest on Casemiro and Eriksen’s futures at Man Utd as the Red Devils look to generate room in their squad for new players.

Jacobs told GiveMeSport: “The first thing to say is that the midfield will depend, at least in that position on Casemiro, on whether he departs. There is firm Saudi interest.

“Christian Eriksen has already said that he’s unhappy with his game time, so potentially he’s also outgoing. We know there’ll be interest in Scott McTominay, but Manchester United value him. However, he’s also been linked with various clubs for the last few windows.

“So, naturally, Manchester United will look to strengthen that area of midfield if the departures allow them to generate squad space, wage space and funds to do so.”

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