Agent ‘takes galactic signing’ to Man Utd for ‘astronomical offer’ amid Liverpool, Chelsea interest

Joe Williams
Man Utd transfer target Joao Neves
Joao Neves has been linked heavily with a move to Man Utd.

Super agent Jorge Mendes is pushing Benfica midfielder Joao Neves in the direction of Man Utd ahead of the summer, according to reports.

The Red Devils are under new direction with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS taking over the footballing operation at Old Trafford after completing a deal to buy 27.7 per cent of the Premier League club.

Could Man Utd make an ‘astronomical offer’ for Joao Neves this summer?

Ratcliffe is hoping to transform the recruitment department and infrastructure at Man Utd with the Red Devils fans suffering from a decade of disappointing transfer decisions.

The British billionaire made clear in a recent interview that he would prefer to sign the new Kylian Mbappe than the finished article as it makes more sense.

Speaking on the Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast, Ratcliffe said: “What I would rather do, I would rather find the next Mbappe, rather than spend a fortune to just try and buy success.

“It’s not that clever, is it? Buying Mbappe. In a way. Anyone could figure that one out. But what is much more challenging is to find the next Mbappe or the next [Jude] Bellingham or the next Roy Keane.”

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In that sense, a deal for Benfica midfielder Neves would be understandable with the Portugal international only 19 and showing signs of becoming a world-class player.

And now Spanish publication Nacional insists that agent Jorge Mendes plans to ‘take’ Neves to Man Utd in the summer transfer window despite interest from Liverpool and Chelsea.

Mendes is ‘prepared to close a galactic signing’ for the Red Devils and has ‘recommended’ that a number of clubs should ‘closely monitoring the 19-year-old pearl’.

The report adds that ‘only an astronomical offer of around €100m’ will see the Portuguese midfielder leave Benfica at the end of the season and that means Man Utd are the ‘main candidate right now to sign Neves’.

Man Utd are prepared to wait to land Dan Ashworth

As part of his recruitment overhaul, Ratcliffe is set to appoint Jason Wilcox as technical director and former CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs the British billionaire will be patient in his pursuit of Newcastle’s Dan Ashworth as he looks to make him Man Utd’s new sporting director.

Jacobs wrote in his Caught Offside column: “Manchester United have made a formal offer for Southampton’s director of football Jason Wilcox. They want him to join as technical director and Wilcox has made it clear he’s keen on the move. He views it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, even though he’ll be taking up, in title, a role working under incoming sporting director Dan Ashworth (presuming a compensation package is finally agreed with Newcastle).

“Wilcox has now resigned and has a 12-month notice period, but Manchester United are still hopeful of agreeing a package to get him sooner.

“A formal offer of one year’s salary in compensation was made, which United felt was fair given Wilcox has only been at Southampton for nine months. But Southampton are upset because they not only want well in excess of this (perhaps closer to two-years salary), but they argue Man United agreed to pay more prior to being given permission to approach Wilcox, only to then offer lower than they had committed to in writing.

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“It’s still possible the parties reach an amicable agreement rather than Manchester United having to wait. Plus, we’re not talking millions. Even two-years salary for Wilcox wouldn’t be an astronomical number in football terms. Manchester United, for their part, insist they made their approach respectfully following due process.

“It’s also not true Liverpool ever made an offer for Wilcox. They are instead really close to appointing Benfica’s technical director Pedro Marques.

“As for Ashworth, Manchester United are no closer to reaching an agreement but it’s still seen as a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ a deal is reached.

“Things probably won’t be resolved until Newcastle line up Ashworth’s replacement. It could be sorted this month, but Manchester United don’t want to pay £20m to get Ashworth starting this summer. Sources have always been clear they are prepared to wait. The priority, however, is to have him begin at worst in time for the January 2025 window and ideally on 1 September. It will be easier to negotiate with Newcastle once they have a replacement in mind since they won’t want a situation where they are paying that person plus Ashworth for a prolonged period of time.”