Manchester United are ready to splash £250million on young Portuguese trio Joao Felix, Ruben Dias and Bruno Fernandes this summer as the club aim to build a squad capable of challenging for titles next season.
According to The Mirror, 19-year-old Dias is valued at £50million by Benfica while 21-year-old Benfica star Felix has a £105m release clause and Porto 24-year-old star Fernandes has a release clause set at £95million.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly wants to sign the best young talent rather than older experienced players and has ordered regular updates on three Portuguese stars.
Even though Manchester United are yet to confirm his appointment as permanent manager of the club, Solskjaer has delivered a wish-list of transfer targets to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward which includes the Portuguese trio.
Dias and Felix are both graduates of Benfica’s youth system, with defender Dias earning eight senior international caps while Felix earned a call-up for the March internationals.
Midfielder Fernandes, who moved back to Portugal from Sampdoria in 2017, has earned 11 caps and scored two goals for Portugal since his debut in 2017.
Other top clubs in Europe including Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City are also interested in the trio.
Meanwhile, former Manchester United player Gordon Strachan has backed Solskjaer for the United job and is delighted the Norwegian is tapping into Sir Alex Ferguson’s knowledge.
“I’ve heard Ole isn’t the world’s greatest coach, but Sir Alex wasn’t the world’s greatest coach,” Strachan said.
“He knew how to coach, but, for 25 years, he didn’t do much coaching, he left that to others. He brought presence, discipline and footballing philosophy – things like passing the ball forward more – and that’s where modern football is at.
“It’s a lot simpler than people are making out. You’ll get caught up in it if you believe all these stats, but it’s ‘the Emperor’s new clothes’.
“We know Ole is talking to Sir Alex – and that’s good. He won’t be asking about tactics, he’ll be asking how he deals with being United manager on and off the park.
“When Alex first went to United, he had a similar set-up with Sir Matt Busby.
“Nothing technical, just how to deal with being the manager at that club. As a top manager, sometimes you can think you’re getting all the problems in the world and that it’s horrible.
“So it’s nice to sit and have a cup of tea with somebody who has been there, done that and survived – he’s OK, he’s not nuts.
“It’s just nice to talk to somebody who has been in your shoes and there are not many who have walked the road Ole is right now.
“Sir Alex may say, ‘I had that with David Beckham or Jaap Stam, this is how I solved it, try that’.”