Chelsea enter the race for £100m highly rated midfielder

Chelsea enter the race for £100m highly rated midfielder

Chelsea have reportedly entered the race to sign Benfica midfielder, Joao Neves.

Neves, 19, made his first-team breakthrough with the Portuguese club last season and has been trusted to start on a regular basis this season.

Manchester United have been the one club consistently linked with a move for the teenager since his emergence at elite level, though other clubs are now said to be eyeing a move as his stock continues to rise.

Portuguese outlet O Jogo have suggested Chelsea, along with Liverpool, have “joined the race” for Neves ahead of the summer transfer window. Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are also said to be keen on the youngster.

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Under contract until 2028, Neves is protected by a release clause worth €120m (£102m), which his employers are believed to be interested in raising to €150m (£128m).

Quizzed on his future last month, the Benfica academy graduate gave little away regarding his plans after telling reporters: “I promise to do my best in every training session, in every game, and I think that is one of my greatest qualities. I’m focused on Benfica and even more so on [Thursday’s] game, which is the next one. I think I will do my best in every game and in every training session.”

This would not be the first time Mauricio Pochettino’s side have raided Benfica in a deal worth in excess of £100m, having signed Enzo Fernandez from the Eagles in January of last year.

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Chelsea will likely have to sell before they can buy this summer to avoid breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules. A recent report by the Times indicated Reece James and Conor Gallagher could be offloaded.

As the pair are homegrown, the full amount of such transfer fees will count towards player trading profit in the club’s 2023/24 accounts. This is not the case when selling international squad members, who cannot be counted as pure profit when being sold.

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