Man Utd ‘overtake’ Liverpool in race for midfielder after vowing to bid over €120m release clause

Joe Williams
Man Utd target Enzo Fernandez kisses the World Cup trophy

Man Utd have leapfrogged arch-rivals Liverpool in the race to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, according to reports.

The Red Devils and the Reds are hoping to bring in a new midfielder over the next couple of windows with Erik ten Hag and Jurgen Klopp both keen to strengthen that area of their team.

Despite pundits insisting they needed a new midfielder, Liverpool looked like they had wrapped up their transfer deals early on in the summer with Klopp claiming it would be unlikely for them to go back into the market.

However, poor form and injuries forced Klopp’s hand as Liverpool took Juventus midfielder Arthur on loan until the end of the season on deadline day.

The Brazilian was ruled out for three or four months in October after picking up a thigh injury in training and undergoing surgery to repair it.

Liverpool will be hopeful he is fit soon after the World Cup but, with Arthur unlikely to be a solution beyond this campaign, they are turning their attention to next summer and bringing in long-term midfield reinforcements.

As well as Jude Bellingham, World Cup star Fernandez has been interesting Klopp and his recruitment team with reports they could even ‘give up’ on Bellingham for the Argentina international, as he represented a more affordable option.

But now UOL Esporte journalist Bruno Andrade claims that arch-rivals Man Utd are ‘overtaking Liverpool in the race for’ Fernandez.

He insists there are ‘already ongoing conversations between all involved’ and that Man Utd ‘are even willing’ to pay over Fernandez’s €120m release clause to ‘avoid any competition’.

Speaking during the World Cup, former Man Utd centre-back Rio Ferdinand hailed the Benfica midfielder’s ability and speculated that there would be a lot of interest in him.

Ferdinand said on the BBC: “Enzo Fernandez, I like this guy. 21 years old – he’s done nothing but enhance his reputation. There will be clubs sniffing around him. Top, top clubs.

“He was so composed, for a kid so young at this level. Tactically very good as well.”

Fellow pundit Pablo Zabaleta also praised Fernandez and claimed his compatriot will be playing in a “better league” soon.

Zabaleta added: “He showed his personality, class on the ball. I think maybe next summer, he will go to a better league.

“A very complete midfielder. He can put tackles in, good on the ball and can pass it effectively.”

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