Sir Jim Ratcliffe is ready to shatter transfer records at Manchester United as the club seeks to bolster their midfield.

Former Real Madrid stalwart Casemiro’s decline since leaving the Santiago Bernabeu has been rapid and dramatic. Meanwhile, Christian Eriksen isn’t getting much love as Erik ten Hag no longer favors the Dane. In a flash, Manchester United‘s starting midfield from the previous season is gone.

Neither Mason Mount nor Scott McTominay have shown much promise as central midfielders. Unbeknownst to most, 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo is keeping it together.

No one should be surprised to hear that United will be shopping for a midfielder this summer. It will ideally have to be a youthful one, to ensure they avoid a similar situation in the next two years.

It would seem that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is aware of this. Thus, with a transfer budget of more than $108 million, the Manchester United owner is planning a spectacular move to sign Joao Neves, a prodigy for Benfica.

Ideal partnership with compatriot Fernandes?

United have kept a careful eye on the 19-year-old midfielder all season long, and he has now emerged as a major target. He has been linked with a move to the Premier League for some time. What’s more, he is certainly one of the most sought-after commodities heading into the summer transfer season.

Several times this season, the Red Devils reportedly sent scouts to observe him, according to the Portuguese source Record. They will be closely watching Neves’ performance in the highly anticipated derby match against Sporting, as part of their heightened scouting efforts.

They plan to pair Neves with Bruno Fernandes, a fellow countryman, and form a formidable midfield combo. The club’s pursuit of Neves is strategic; they want to add energy and skill to their midfield, so they can compete at a higher level.

After Neves’ outstanding season, United scouts were unanimous in their praise and put him at the top of their transfer wishlist. Despite being only 19 years old, the midfielder has quickly become an integral part of Benfica’s starting lineup.

Manchester United may break its transfer record on Joao Neves

The report adds that the Red Devils are reportedly prepared to pay a pretty penny to get Neves. They have allegedly set aside more than $108 million to acquire the midfielder this summer. Especially, after making his acquisition a “priority” for the club.

Benfica aren’t going to compromise much on their player. Still, United is steadfast in giving the Portuguese club a run for its money with an outrageous offer.

The Premier League giants set a record for the highest transfer price in 2016 when they paid $113 million for Paul Pogba. However, the article continues to state they would spend more than that.

There is a $129 million release clause in the midfielder’s contract, according to an earlier O Jogo article. Liverpool and Chelsea are also tracking the midfielder. Therefore, this transfer saga may develop into a battle between English rivals.

His value is too high for the Portuguese club to risk selling him cheaply. Reportedly, they are optimistic that the player and the club can reach a new agreement that would raise his release clause to $161 million.