Manchester United’s hopes of signing Darwin Nunez are expected to hinge on whether they qualify for next season’s Champions League, with a series of English clubs facing an uphill battle in convincing the Benfica striker to sign for them.
unez is one of the most exciting prospects in European football, having scored 26 goals in 33 appearances for Benfica this season, and the 22-year-old is set to leave the Portuguese side this summer.
However, a move to Spain, where Atletico Madrid have long-standing interest, is currently the most likely scenario for Nunez. Benfica are thought to want at least £60m (€70.6m) for the Uruguayan, who joined from Almeria in 2020 for a club-record fee of £20m (€23.5m).
Newcastle United and West Ham United both showed interest in signing Nunez in the January transfer window, while Brighton also made an unsuccessful attempt to buy him last summer.
Nunez has impressed in this season’s Champions League, scoring twice against Barcelona in the group stages and netting the winner against Ajax earlier this month, and he is keen to remain in Europe’s premier competition. Nunez will be seen as the biggest threat to Liverpool’s defence in their upcoming quarter-final.
United’s chances of securing his signature will therefore depend on where they finish in this season’s race for the top four, with Ralf Rangnick’s side currently four points behind Arsenal despite playing one game more.
Arsenal are in the market for at least one centre-forward this summer and they have also been credited with interest in Nunez, although any interest they might have is understood to be far less advanced than United’s.
As with United, Mikel Arteta’s side would almost certainly need to finish in the top four if they are to stand any chance of recruiting Nunez ahead of next season.
Benfica are keen to reach an early conclusion on Nunez’s future, with the club hoping to secure a hefty transfer fee early in the window.
The Uruguayan’s age and goalscoring record makes him one of the most appealing potential options for clubs looking to upgrade their forward line this summer. United, Arsenal, West Ham and Newcastle will all be on the hunt for a new striker, as will Manchester City.
Meanwhile, United are planning to fly to Australia this summer as part of their pre-season preparations, and they are also set to play a friendly against Liverpool in the Far East.
The tour will be United’s first in three years due to Covid, and they expect to have a new manager appointed by then.
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