Liverpool's interest in Joao Neves will reportedly spark a reaction from Benfica next week. The midfielder is building a reputation.
O Jogo report that Benfica are ready to sign Joao Neves to a brand new contract. The teenager has been an absolute revelation in 2023, cementing himself as a regular player for the Portuguese giants.
Of course, any young talent who establishes themself at Benfica also draws intense interest from abroad. Neves is no different, with O Jogo name-dropping Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Liverpool are holding an interest in him.
Man United lead the way, apparently, but this isn't a race that's anywhere near over. For one thing, Benfica are going to significantly raise his release clause.
Neves is still on a fairly basic contract right now. He earns about £500k per year, making him the lowest-paid player in the first-team squad. However, he is still under a release clause of £104m.
Benfica want to raise that all the way up to £130m with a new contract. They're very confident that Neves will sign it, too, as a boyhood fan who's still at the very start of his career.
In fact, Benfica believe the deal could be signed 'in the first days' of 2024 - next week, in other words - as they react to all of this interest. Doing so would give them absolute security with the future of their most valuable asset.
O Jogo's article mentions that the £130m release clause is the same as Darwin Nunez's before he moved to Liverpool. He didn't cost the Reds anything like that, of course - it's primarily about giving freedom to negotiate.
Neves almost certainly won't move in January, with manager Roger Schmidt making clear that he's not for sale. Though, he could technically move if a team met his release clause.
It's a very similar situation to Enzo Fernandez last year. He had a massive release clause and Benfica weren't willing to sell - only for Chelsea to actually pay it in January to get him.
There's little suggestion that any team team will do the same for Neves, who is Enzo's replacement in the side, funnily enough. Instead, he will face offers galore in the summer, likely for far less than his upcoming release clause.