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Everton: Benitez fumbled Matheus Nunes deal

It’s not as if Everton supporters need any more reason to be downcast amid their current relegation worries, although they may well receive another kick in the teeth in the coming weeks and months regarding reported transfer target Matheus Nunes.

While the Brazil-born PortugAL international is still yet to decide on his next destination, having starred for current club Sporting Lisbon over the past few years, recent reports have suggested that he could be in line for a move to Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola previously dubbing him “one of the best in the world” due to his sparkling form.

Missing out on a player to the Premier League leaders is no major point of note in itself from a Toffees perspective, although the problem lies in the fact that they could have reportedly signed the 23-year-old last summer, as well as in January.

A report from last July suggested that there had been contact regarding a potential deal with the player’s agent Jorge Mendes, although the appointment of Rafael Benitez set the negotiations back, with the Spaniard wanting to exert his own control over transfer proceedings.

Benitez fumbled Nunes transfer

The player would reportedly have been available for a fee in the region of £20m at the time, while the club reportedly scouted him again ahead of a potential deal in the winter, although on both occasions the Merseysiders failed to make their interest concrete.

The suggestion now is that the former Estoril man will now be worth roughly €60m (£50m), with his current club having included a release clause in the contract extension that he signed back in October – after Benitez and co had missed their chance to snap him up for a fraction of that amount.

The £27m-rated star proved instrumental in helping to drag Ruben Amorim side through the Champions League group stage at the expense of Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, with Nunes registering 1.2 interceptions, 1.5 clearances and two tackles per game in the tournament prior to Sporting’s exit at the hands of Man City in the round of 16.

As for Everton, despite adding Donny Van de Beek and Dele Alli to their ranks in January, Frank Lampard’s side have looked particularly light in central midfield, with the failure to add a new midfield signing last summer potentially proving costly.

In just under a year, the club have gone from a position of top-half comfort to now fighting for their Premier League lives, with it unlikely that Nunes would consider the move now even if the Toffees can avoid dropping into the Championship come the end of the season.

This has to go down as a howler from Benitez, who was already unpopular enough with the Everton fan base as it was, and this gives the supporter another reason to rage at the Spaniard.

In other news, £44m down the drain: Allardyce’s £69k-p/w disaster has rinsed Everton for 54 months

Article title: Everton: Benitez fumbled Matheus Nunes deal

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