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Friday, June 14, 2024

Bid incoming: Man Utd eye midfield sensation who’s as good as Mainoo

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Man Utd have already had a bid rejected for their target. Manchester United’s midfield has been a problem area for years, with only a handful of players living up to their expectations. Since the arrival of Erik ten Hag, he’s tried to bolster the middle of the field, signing the likes of Christian Eriksen, Casemiro, Mason Mount and even Sofyan Amrabat on loan. However, none of them have truly impressed – Mount notably scoring just once all season – hence why Sir Jim Ratcliffe is keen to reinforce the position this summer. Man Utd’s search for a new midfielder According to a report from TEAMtalk, Man United are plotting a new move for Joao Neves. Benfica already received an offer from the Red Devils for their midfielder, £51.1m, which was swiftly rejected. However, they’re set to return with a higher offer of £64m, which could rise to £72.4m with add-ons. That said, there are a few factors that could make this deal complicated, with Manchester City also keen and Benfica looking to hand him a new contract with a release clause of £128m attached. At the moment it currently stands at €120m (£102m). Therefore, United will be keen to get the deal done as soon as possible, especially considering he’s just as talented as Kobbie Mainoo. Why Joao Neves would be a fantastic signing When a young player breaks onto the scene with such quality, they’re often overhyped, but that’s certainly not the case for Neves or Mainoo. Both midfielders enjoyed their first major breakthrough campaign last season, and by the end of it, they became key players in the side. The Portuguese gem started 27 Liga Portugal games while the England international made 24 Premier League starts, both in the double pivot of a 4-2-3-1. But what exactly makes them so special? And why is Neves just as talented as Mainoo? Neves vs Mainoo 23/24 League Stats Stats (per game) Neves Mainoo Touches 76.5 49 Passes completed 54.4 31.1 Pass accuracy 90% 87% Successful dribbles 1.2 1.3 Tackles 2 2 Balls recovered 6.4 4 Duels won 6 5 Dribbled past 1 1 Fouls won 1.5 1 Via Sofascore Well, first and foremost, the duo are both 19 years of age, yet they play with the confidence and maturity of an elite player ten years their senior, with no occasion affecting them thus far. The very fact Mainoo scored in the FA Cup final says a lot. Furthermore, as you can see from the stats, their profiles are incredibly complete, boasting technical class and defensive dominance, which is why Neves in particular has been tipped to develop into “one of the best CMs” in the world by football analyst Ben Mattinson. One of their biggest attributes is how composed they are in possession, often retaining the ball well and being press-resistant, as shown by how few times they lose possession, as well as their pass accuracy and successful dribbles. On the other hand, they’re also extremely tenacious players who work incredibly hard off the ball, whether that’s winning their individual battles, leading the press, or covering ground with ease. Although they can both play in numerous roles, including slightly deeper, Neves and Mainoo are at their best in a box-to-box role, where they can dominate the game all over the field. However, what’s absolutely crazy is the standard and consistency that they’re showing at such a young age and the fact that they are already so important to their clubs. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Ratcliffe wants to sign Neves this summer, as alongside Mainoo, United would have a midfield to dominate for years to come.

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