Arsenal join Chelsea and Manchester United in '£102m transfer race' for Joao Neves

Joao Neves in action during Portugal's EURO 2024 warm-up match vs Finland
-Credit: (Image: Bruno de Carvalho/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Arsenal are reportedly the latest team to enter the £102m race to sign Benfica's defensive midfielder, Joao Neves, this summer.

On Tuesday, Record claimed interest in the 19-year-old would be high this summer as elite European clubs aim to strengthen their midfield. They added that Manchester United had become the first club to enter into an official offer for the Portuguese, priced at €60m (£51.23m).

This was swiftly rejected by Benfica, who rate Neves highly, with their president, Rui Costa, recently remarking that the teenager is a 'natural leader'. The Portuguese sports newspaper added that Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, PSG and Bayern Munich are all keeping a close eye on the activity surrounding Neves.

Despite the clear interest, it was reported that Benfica would entertain no offer, which is less than €100m (£85.38m) and ideally would want him to stay for at least another season or go for his release clause of €120m (£102.46m). Now, a fresh report from journalist Fabrizio Romano has added the Gunners' name in the mix of clubs keen on Neves.

It is understood the North London club's scouts have been monitoring the midfielder for months along with United and City, but the message from Benfica is clear - €120m bid or no deal. Mikel Arteta will be aiming to add a central midfielder to his squad this summer, considering the future of Thomas Partey is unclear.

Neves has been ever-present for Benfica this season, having made 55 appearances for the club and scoring a modest three goals. His performances have earned him a call-up to the Portugal squad for this summer's European Championships in Germany.