But there is a possibility Neves could now follow Fernandez to Stamford Bridge after ironically replacing the Argentine in the Benfica team in January, with Roger Schmidt handing him a bigger role in the first team.
In any case, they could face losing out to Saudi Pro League sides in January as Neves is represented by Jorge Mendes, whose agency Gestifute has encouraged clients to head to the mega-rich Arabian Gulf over the past six months. Ruben Neves and Cristiano Ronaldo play for Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr respectively, which could turn the youngster’s head if there is sufficient interest.
But they would need to invest a club-record fee to activate Neves’ release clause and United may need to wait until Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment deal has gone through before they are able to compete.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are focused on defensive and attacking targets in January, but may be encouraged to swoop for Neves if United open the bidding.