- Man United will prioritize signing a new centre-back this summer
- They are reportedly leading the race for a highly-rated Benfica defender
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Manchester United are reportedly in pole position to sign an £86million Benfica defender in the summer transfer window.
Erik ten Hag has struggled to settle on a consistent centre-back pairing this season following the injury layoffs of Lisandro Martínez and Harry Maguire, while Raphael Varane is expected to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Bringing in a new central defender is a priority at United this summer, and they have already set their sights on a rising star from Portugal.
According O JogoThe Red Devils are leading the race to sign 20-year-old Antonio Silva, who has made 35 appearances for Benfica this season.
A seven-time Portuguese international, Silva has been a star for the Portuguese giants, who are currently two points ahead of Sporting Lisbon at the top of the Primeira Liga table, although they have played one more game than their rivals.
Man United manager Erik ten Hag will prioritize signing a new centre-back this summer
United are reportedly leading the race for Benfica defender Antonio Silva (pictured)
Ten Hag has been unable to settle on a consistent centre-back pairing and Raphael Varane is expected to leave the club this summer.
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His contract with Benfica runs until 2027, but he has an £86m release clause in his contract.
United could try to activate this at the end of the season and have already contacted Gestifute, the agency representing Silva.
Gestifute is known for working with Portuguese players, as they currently represent Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Diogo Jota, among others.
Chelsea have also been linked with Silva in recent weeks, but United currently have the advantage when it comes to securing his signature.
They have watched several of his games this season and reportedly “know everything” about him as they reflect on the summer.
Silva is not the only centre-back United are interested in, as they have also been monitoring Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite.
The 21-year-old defender has impressed for the Toffees this season after returning from a loan spell at PSV Eindhoven.
He has a long-term contract with Everton until 2027 and the Merseyside club have reportedly put a £100m price tag on their prized asset in a bid to deter potential suitors.