Why Man United should try and beat Man City to sign Florentino Luis
According to the Daily Mail, Man United have joined Man City in the race to sign Benfica starlet Florentino Luis, with the report claiming that both the Manchester clubs are set to go head-to-head in the transfer tug-of-war over the 20-year-old when the transfer window reopens in January.
The same report suggests that Luis has a mammoth release clause of £90 million in his current contract at Benfica, although it is understood that bids of around £65 million could be enough to tempt the Portuguese heavyweights to do business.
Born in Lisbon to parents of Angolan descent, the 20-year-old joined Benfica’s academy back in 2010 and rose through the youth ranks to make his debut for the club’s reserve team in 2016 before earning his senior first-team debut towards the latter half of the previous campaign in February.
Luis hasn’t looked back since then and his incredible transition from Benfica’s reserves to the senior side has earned him widespread recognition as one of Europe’s hottest emerging prospects, so much so, that his performances have prompted pundits to draw comparisons with stalwarts like Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
Indeed, such comparisons sound a bit exaggerating, particularly, due to the fact that he has only played 19 games for Benfica at the senior level. That, apparently, has been enough for him to impress the scouts coming from some of Europe’s elite clubs, with the youngster continuing his successful start to the life at the highest level this term as well.
Having played an influential role in Benfica’s title triumph in the second half of the previous campaign following his first-team breakthrough, Luis has carried his rich vein of form into the 2019-20 season, consolidating his position as one of the mainstays of the team’s midfield ahead of several more established and experienced players.
That he has broken on to the scene at Benfica and earned rave reviews for his performances so early in his career speaks volumes of his talent and potential, given the club’s past record in blooding world-class youngsters.
Joao Felix is a prime example of a player who hardly played a full season at Benfica before earning a record move to Atletico Madrid earlier this summer and Florentino Luis could be the next in the queue to be the academy’s next poster boy, with a move to the Premier League apparently on the horizon.
To put things into perspective, Luis looks like a real talent and an ideal signing for both the Manchester clubs but Man United should look to beat their bitter rivals in the bidding war over the youngster’s services in a bid to add much-needed depth and quality to their central midfield and, possibly, bring the best out of Paul Pogba.
Despite spending big to shore up their defence this summer, United have looked a little pedestrian and ineffective in the central midfield area thus far in the Premier League this season, with the likes of Pogba and Scott McTominay just not doing enough to dictate the play and keep the opposition at bay.
The likes of Nemanja Matic and Fred have fallen victim to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fountain of youth at Old Trafford after their lacklustre displays last season, with the duo completely frozen out of the playing eleven in the earlier stages of the campaign.
Luis, on the other hand, looks more like the real deal and an ideal fit for Solskjaer’s philosophy at United, given his youthful exuberance and more dynamic style of play.
Not only has he got the legs to race up and down the pitch and keep the opposition at bay with his ability to cut out attacks with crucial tackles and interceptions, but the 20-year-old has also shown a level of maturity that belies his tender, both in terms of composure in possession, defensive positioning and discipline.
The Portuguese youth international is essentially a defensive midfielder by trade but he is more than capable of making an impression in the attacking third with his passing skills, technical abilities on the ball and a deadly eye for goal from range.
Luis is not yet the finished article but at the tender age of 20, there is still plenty of time for him to work on the flaws in his game and eventually take strides towards fulfilling his potential.
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He has shown strong signs of promise and it is easy to see that United spending big on the youngster could reap rich rewards in the years to come.