Back in September, Portuguese news outlet A Bola (h/t The Metro) had claimed that Manchester United had joined cross-town rivals Manchester City in the battle for Benfica star Florentino Luis.
In fact, the Red Devils sent scouts to watch Benfica’s comprehensive 4-0 win at Sporting Braga on 1 September, where they were also keeping tabs over centre-back Ruben Dias. (h/t The Metro)
Florentino Luis, 20, only made his senior debut in February and played 15 games for the Portuguese giants last season after stepping up from the Benfica B team.
A regular in Portugal’s youth sides, he lifted European Under-17 Championship in 2016, before adding the Under-19 Championship title to his trophy cabinet two years later. Luis has impressed in the midfield for Benfica so far this season, managing nine appearances across all competitions.
With the 20-year-old quickly becoming one of the most sought-after talents in Europe, Manchester United must do everything in their powers to sign him in January.
United go into Sunday’s home game against Brighton already 10 points adrift of the top four, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team winning just three of their 11 Premier League games so far this season. There’s a lot of surgery that needs to be done to the squad that Solskjaer inherited from Jose Mourinho last December.
One of the crucial areas the Norwegian must address in the January transfer window is the midfield. Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera’s departure left the Red Devils light in the midfield heading into the new season.
With Nemanja Matic, Fred, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and teenager James Garner as the only options in central midfield, it’s very difficult for United to compete on all fronts.
Matic is 31 and doesn’t fit Solskjaer’s quick, expansive style of football. He may have played just three league games this season due to poor form and injuries but the Serbian is past his prime and needs to be offloaded. That being said, the United boss should sell Matic in January and replace him with Florentino Luis.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Luis excels at breaking up the opposition’s play with his interception and tackling. As per Whoscored.com, in just six league appearances this season, the 20-year-old has averaged 3.2 tackles, 4.2 interceptions, 0.5 clearances and 0.2 blocks.
In fact, he has even drawn comparisons to Chelsea star N’Golo Kante for his ability to constantly get into the right positions and recover possession.
For a player who is just 20 years old, it is an impressive feat, especially if he can keep it up. Luis has massive potential and can only unlock it with regular game time, whilst having proper guidance as well.
He signed a new contract this summer, which extends his stay at Benfica until 2024, with a release clause set at £108m. That amount does look steep but United must go all out in their pursuit of Luis.
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