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Manchester United and Liverpool could end up spending £78million on teenage Benfica defender Antonio Silva as the two clubs look to improve their long-term centre-back options. The youngster has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of Joao Felix and Ruben Dias by making a big move across Europe from the Lisbon-based side.
Silva has broken into the Benfica first team this season despite being just 18 years old. He has already made 11 appearances in domestic competition and the Champions League as he quickly makes an impression at his club and at other teams in world football including United and Liverpool.
Benfica have a reputation for developing young talent, with Felix and Dias among those to have made big money moves from the Portuguese side in recent years. The forward joined Atletico Madrid in a £113m deal in 2019 while the centre-back made the switch to Premier League champions Manchester City in 2020 for around £51m plus Nicolas Otamendi.
Now, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has tipped Silva to follow in their footsteps in the future, suggesting he could one day cost as much as £78m
“Remember the name: Antonio Silva,” he told Caught Offiside. “He’s a top player for the future, of course he needs some time to improve his skills but Benfica are convinced he will be worth £70-78m in the future.
“I’ve seen some reports of Liverpool and Manchester United looking at him. For sure, top clubs are following him but it’s important to say that there’s still nothing serious or concrete, as of now.
“He is still developing as a player, but let’s see where he is in a few years, the future looks bright for him.”
The need for the two north-west rivals to add to their defensive options has been highlighted in recent weeks with both teams suffering injuries to their centre-backs. Raphael Varane joined Harry Maguire on the sidelines after picking up an issue against Chelsea this weekend, while Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate have missed multiple games for Liverpool this season, with both currently out with niggles.
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Gareth Crooks questioned the durability of modern day centre-backs in his recent team of the week column, joking Varane is made of biscuits.
“What is wrong with Raphael Varane?” he queried. “He’s a good defender but he’s made of biscuits – he keeps breaking. Strikers used to get carried off after a tackle by a defender. Now centre-backs get carried off after they tackled a striker. What’s it coming to?”
It remains to be seen whether or not United and Liverpool will make a move for Silva but it looks clear that he should be a name to monitor closely in the coming months and years.
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