Manchester United lead the race to sign Benfica full back Nelson Semedo – report

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United are in pole position to sign Benfica’s Nelson Semedo after Barcelona pulled out of the face to sign the full-back, according to reports from Portugal.

Reports earlier this week suggested that Jose Mourinho, already successful in prizing one defender away from Lisbon this summer, was set to bid €35m for the 23-year-old.

The Catalan giants had pin-pointed the 23-year-old, who has just enjoyed his first season as a regular starter for Benfica, as a back-up option if their bid for Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin falls through.

And according to Portuguese outlet O Jogo (relayed by Marca), Barcelona have been put off by Benfica’s €50m valuation of the defender, paving the way for Man United to launch a bid of their own.

Mourinho’s transfer policy this summer, once again, revolves around securing a centre back, winger, striker and defensive midfielder, but you could add right back into the same category of importance.

This may not seem the case with Antonio Valencia currently proving undroppable, but the Ecuadorian turns 32 soon and will not be around – nor capable of operating at the same level intensity – for much longer, and Semedo’s arrival would lighten the load for Valencia and, just as importantly, set up a platform for a new right back to fill his boots further down the line.

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