Manchester United line up move for Benfica defender Antonio Silva

Benfica starlet Antonio Silva is one of the three names on Manchester United’s centre-back shortlist ahead of a potential move in January.

Antonio Silva

The Red Devils have struggled defensively this season, both with form and injury, and they were dealt with a big blow on Friday when Lisandro Martinez was ruled out for up to three months with a foot injury. This has left Erik ten Hag with Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Jonny Evans as the only senior centre-back options right now.

Manchester United were keen on recruiting a new central defender in the summer but the breakdown of Harry Maguire’s proposed move to West Ham ruined their plans. They still remain keen on moving for a centre-back in January, and following the latest news of Martinez’s injury, the club’s plans have only been strengthened.

Antonio Silva is reportedly on Man United’s radar, as Ten Hag plans to use funds to sign a defender in January. Their other targets include OGC Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba.

Man United have scouted Antonio Silva many times

Antonio Silva is regarded as one of Europe’s brightest young defensive talents. He has come through the young ranks at Benfica and made it to their first team last summer. The teenager has gone from strength and strength since being promoted to the first team, racking up over 50 appearances in all competitions so far. The centre-back’s rock-solid performances in Benfica colours have also resulted in him featuring for the Portugal national team during the past international break.

Man United are weighing up the possibility of making additions to their backline in the January transfer window and sent scouts to watch Silva represent Portugal during the international break last month. He played the entire game in Portugal’s 1-0 win over Slovakia on September 8, helping the team keep a clean sheet.

Despite being only 19, Silva has already proven himself in Liga NOS, the Champions League as well as the international stage. The Portugal international certainly has what it takes to bolster United’s defence and become Varane’s long-term replacement. He would certainly compete for a starting spot alongside Varane and Lindelof, with Martinez out injured and Maguire’s future at Old Trafford uncertain.

However, with years still left to run on his contract, Benfica remain in the driving seat and will ask for a substantial fee to sell Silva in January if United come calling.

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