Sky Sports are reporting major English interest in Benfica duo Joao Filipe and Joao Virginia, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all courting the youngsters.
Both players are just 15-years-old and are highly rated by clubs all over Europe. Filipe is a young winger dubbed ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’ and is capable of playing in various attacking positions, often showcasing a sharp eye for goal. Such is his prodigious talent that Barcelona made an offer to sign Filipe just last season.
Virginia is an up-and-coming goalkeeper who has already put in a string of excellent performances for Benfica at youth level and has caught the eye of the big names in Europe as well.
Due to the increased level of interest in their pair of wonder kids, the Europa League runners-up have offered both long-term deals to stay in Portugal, but neither has agreed to the proposed terms.
There are thoughts that the duo would be interested in a move to the Premier League in the future, and this has put United, City, Liverpool and Chelsea on red-alert as the battle to sign this highly rated pair is sure to heat up.
Fans will have heard this all before, every month there is a new player being dubbed ‘the next superstar’. United fans will be particularly wary of signing overseas talent in this manner for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the majority of United fans would prefer to see talent promoted from their own academy rather than stockpiling the brightest talent from across Europe.
By looking to Lisbon for talented youngsters it only serves to hinder the progress of the homegrown academy players. Secondly, the players that have come across from other academy’s have often left as quickly as they arrived. Both Gerard Pique and Paul Pogba arrived with great expectation, developed at Old Trafford and then promptly left. They fulfilled their potential yes, but not with United.
Should United make a move for Filipe and Virginia, fans will hope they follow in the footsteps of another junior recruit; Adnan Januzaj. Signed from the Anderlecht academy, he has now become a prominent member of the first team. Benfica are aware that they have a duo capable of doing just that, and are bracing themselves for offers from the English clubs.