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Former Man Utd midfielder warns key summer target against Old Trafford move

Former Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has thrown a spanner into the Red Devils’ transfer plans, urging their reported target Joao Neves to remain at Benfica this summer.

The 19-year-old sensation has established himself as a key player for the Portuguese giants after a breakout season last year, attracting interest from top European clubs, including United.

However, Matic, who spent five years on United’s payroll, believes a summer move away from Benfica might be premature for Neves.

“He is fantastic – at just 19 years old, he is a fantastic player,” Matic told O Jogo.

“He is the future of Benfica. Of course, he has interested some Premier League clubs too. I really like these types of players, who are young but play with a lot of maturity.

“I think it’s too early for him to take that step of leaving. If it were him, I would stay at Benfica for a few more years to play in the Champions League and to mature more. 

“I’m sure his time will come and, therefore, he doesn’t need to rush. 

“Joao [Neves] is already at a big club at this point. I’m sure his future at Benfica will be very good. I think it’s too early to leave, but of course, in the end, it’s always his decision.”

Matic’s comments contradict those of United captain Bruno Fernandes, who suggested the teenager is ready for the next step in his career. 

“I don’t know if United rumours are true, but I know he is ready for that big jump,” Fernandes said in March. “He is an excellent player. He’s with the national team – that’s also why the big clubs are after him.”

Neves remains a priority target for United this summer and the youngster could establish a formidable midfield partnership with Kobbie Mainoo for the foreseeable future.

The Portuguese may require some time to adapt to the demands of the Premier League but he has all the tools to seamlessly replace Casemiro at Old Trafford.

This article was written by .

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