Jude Bellingham is not the only talented young midfielder in Europe who Manchester United have been linked with over the past year.
Last September a potential deal for Benfica superkid Florentino Luis was suggested, with The Mail reporting United were hoping a fee of £65 million may be enough to tempt the Portuguese club into a sale.
Florentino Luis has a release clause of £91 million in his contract, a hefty fee for a player who is just 20-years-old.
ESPN report today that United are still keen, claiming his agent was in touch with the club in January.
What makes him so special?
Florentino is already a title winner with Benfica, playing a part in their 2018/19 success. He was also part of Portugal’s under-18 team which won the European Championships in 2018.
He is a tenacious defensive midfielder who has racked up 29 first team appearances so far.
Two months into the season, he had managed more interceptions per game (4.3) than any player in the league, and the second highest number of tackles per match (3.5).
So what happened?
Florentino’s promising season was hit by injury. His last game came back on November 9.
He has worked his way back to fitness since, but only made Benfica’s bench before the season was halted.
In January there was talk of a possible loan move to AC Milan, more from interest on the Italian club’s part, and Calciomercato report that the Serie A side are still pursuing a deal.
What are the current chances of a move?
Right now Florentino does not appear to be a priority for United, with Jude Bellingham the player United want to sign in his position.
The Birmingham superkid may develop into more of a box-to-box player, potentially still leaving room for a specialised defensive midfielder.
The young Portuguese star is clearly talented, but there is no way United should be looking to spend big money on a player who has not kicked a ball since November.
The best case scenario is that Florentino stays put, proves himself, and United take another look next season as a replacement for one of his Benfica predecessors Nemanja Matic.
If he can’t, then United will simply look elsewhere.
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