BACK Manchester United are keeping tabs on Benfica defender Antonio Silva and the player is “aware” of the interest being shown in him, according to Record. The Portuguese tabloid say they have confirmed reports from other sources that the Red Devils and Real Madrid are pursuing the centre-back. Silva penned a new contract last year which included a staggering €120m (£104m) release clause, and it is not known whether Benfica would hold out for that much to let the 19-year-old leave. The Portuguese international is widely regarded as one of the best young defenders in Europe. Despite still being a teenager, he has already made 52 senior appearances, as well as being a regular starter as Benfica won the Liga Portugal title last season. Why are United interested in Silva? Manager Erik ten Hag already has five centre-halves in his first-team squad, with the likes of Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans among his options. However, there has been constant speculation about Maguire’s future. If the England international were to leave Old Trafford in January or at the end of the campaign, Silva could well be his replacement. Other Premier League clubs are also scouting the Benfica star Record claim that there are “other English teams” monitoring Silva’s progress, and they even mention that Liverpool weighed up a bid for the defender during the summer transfer window. Whether Jurgen Klopp’s side are still pursuing the player, we shall have to wait and see, but it’s clear that United will have a battle on their hands securing his signature. With there being so much competition for Silva’s services, Benfica will feel that they can hold out for a price close to his current buyout fee. Watch this video on Shots! TV previewing Manchester United and Manchester City’s upcoming games David Tully David has worked as a football reporter for the last fifteen years. Having started as an intern at Snack Media, he then went on to become a freelancer, working on various different sites. At the start of 2023, he took up his current role as content writer for National World’s Football News Network.