Manchester United have been linked with a move for Benfica striker Darwin Nunez as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to add further reinforcements to his forward line.
According to the Daily Star, United are one of four Premier League clubs interested in the 22-year-old, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea also listed as potential suitors while German giants Bayern Munich are believed to be tracking the youngster as well.
However, it’s City who are at the front of the queue thanks to their healthy relationship with Benfica in recent years.
The reigning English champions have picked up defensive duo Ederson and Ruben Dias from the Lisbon-based side, with centre-back Nicolas Otamendi moving in the opposite direction last summer following a successful spell at the Etihad Stadium.
It’s claimed that although Nunez has an astronomical £125m buyout clause in his contract, Benfica would be willing to sell their prized asset for a reduced fee of £70m next summer, meaning an imminent exit could be on the cards.
The Uruguay international only joined Jorge Jesus’s charges 12 months ago and enjoyed a fabulous maiden season for the Eagles, scoring 14 goals and providing 12 assists in 44 appearances.
And Nunez has started the current campaign in equally impressive fashion, bagging six goals in just eight outings, including a brace against Barcelona in a memorable 3-0 Champions League victory.
Now the player’s agent, Edgardo Lasalvia, has spoken publicly about the South American’s development and plans for a move in the near future.
Lasalvia told FC Inter News (as relayed by the Manchester Evening News): “Darwin is ready to play in any team on the globe.
“Various top-level teams have contacted us, but for the moment the head is on continuing and growing with Benfica and with the Uruguayan national team: this is how important things will come.”
Commenting on Nunez’s similarity with his compatriot and current United star Edinson Cavani, he added: “They have a lot of things in common. We’re convinced that Darwin is destined for great things.
“The important thing is that he is happy now and wants to repay the trust of Benfica and the affection of the people by winning a title.
“We’ll discuss the transfer possibilities with the club executives if necessary, as it should be. For the moment, we’re calm and happy to see him on the pitch.”
With Cavani’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, Anthony Martial struggling for form and Cristiano Ronaldo deep into the twilight zone of his career, a new striker is believed to be high up on the Red Devils wishlist for next summer.
Therefore, if football director John Murtough is unable to land Erling Haaland, Solskjaer’s first-choice target, then he must move for Nunez, providing the Norwegian tactician with the firepower he needs to secure a major trophy.