Liverpool in the race to sign Joao Neves

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According to Portuguese outlet O Jogo, Liverpool are in the race with Premier League rivals Manchester United to sign Benfica star Joao Neves this January.

Liverpool are currently flying high at the top of the Premier League table – two points clear of Arsenal – and Jurgen Klopp will be delighted with the impact and influence the summer signings have made on the campaign so far.

Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch all joined the Merseyside giants this summer and have all had positive performances so far that have helped the side climb the table comfortably.

Now with the transfer window set to re-open in just a few days, Klopp will have much to consider as to whether he adds further reinforcements to his squad or sees out the title challenge without snapping up more new additions, either way all eyes will be on the German coach to make the right decision.

There have been constant rumours and links to central defenders and defensive midfielders due to Fabinho’s shock exit in the summer and Liverpool even lodged a whopping £111m bid for Moises Caicedo in the dying days of the summer transfer window, but the player eventually joined Chelsea instead.

Now Liverpool are being linked to another high-profile and highly valued young player with Benfica midfielder Joao Neves named as one of the potential targets for Klopp in 2024.

This week O Jogo have claimed that Liverpool are in the running to snap up the services of the Portuguese sensation, however, will need to compete with their bitter rivals Manchester United to secure his signature.

Manchester City, Newcastle United and Barcelona are also named as potential suitors for Neves, but would need to pay his €120m (£104m) release clause to even get a chance of potentially signing him.

Will Liverpool sign a defensive midfielder?

There is no doubt that the signing of the right defensive midfielder would be ideal for Liverpool as Endo is 30 years old and will not be considered the long-term solution to replacing Fabinho’s strong influence in the centre of the pitch.

Finding not only the right profile of player to complement the other diverse range of midfield talents Klopp already possesses, but a youthful presence who already boasts the much-needed experience would be the absolute dream to complete the club’s fast-paced midfield rebuild.

Over 15 Liga Portugal appearances so far, Neves has tallied up a 90% pass completion rate, successfully completed 71% of his dribble attempts and offered two goal contributions, as well as averaging 76.9 touches, 6.4 ball recoveries and 7.2 duels won per game, as per SofaScore.

Not only that, the 19-year-old ranks in the top 10% of his positional peers across the Men’s Next 14 Competitions for tackles, blocks and aerial duels won, as well as ranking in the top 17% for pass completion, progressive passes and successful take-ons, according to FBref.

With that being said, it is clear to see that Neves is one of the most exciting young players outside of the top five European leagues, and if they bring a tempting offer to the table Liverpool may have finally found a worthy Fabinho replacement.

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