Benfica’s stance on selling Man Utd target Darwin Nunez could give Erik ten Hag huge boost
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Benfica have started the process of finding a replacement for Manchester United target Darwin Nunez ahead of the upcoming summer transfer window, according to reports. Nunez has been heavily linked with a lucrative move to Old Trafford over the last few months after emerging as one of Europe’s most in-demand talents over the course of this season.
The 22-year-old has led the charge for Benfica in attack with 34 goals in all competitions since the beginning of the campaign and is said to be on Erik ten Hag’s list of potential targets to replace Edinson Cavani at the top of the pitch next season. It seems as though Nunez is moving closer to the exit door at Benfica ahead of the summer window, with the Portuguese heavyweights now actively seeking a new striker to succeed the Uruguay international, according to The Athletic.
It is said that Benfica are fully expecting Nunez to leave the club before the start of next season and would prefer a deal to be completed during the early stages of the window to give them plenty of time to source a replacement. Stuttgart forward Sasa Kalajdzic is thought to be among the names under strong consideration at the Estadio da Luz and could be set to make the switch for around £21.2million at some point over the coming months.
Benfica’s interest in Kalajdzic suggests that United will stand a realistic chance of bringing Nunez to Old Trafford when the bidding opens at the end of the current campaign. The latter is likely to command a fee in the region of £51m and would certainly provide the Red Devils with some much-needed additional firepower if he can be snapped up by Ten Hag over the course of the upcoming window.
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However, it remains to be seen whether United will be prepared to meet Benfica’s asking price for Nunez during talks with the Primeira Liga outfit in the not-too-distant future. The Red Devils are also said to be planning on landing at least one new central midfielder to boost their options in the position and have been tipped to follow up with the addition of a first-choice centre-back as Ten Hag looks to mount a renewed top-four challenge in his debut season in charge.
The Dutchman will be desperate to get things right in his first transfer window at United in order to aid his hopes of restoring the club’s former glories over the coming months and years. However, former England defender Paul Parker has already warned Ten Hag that he could struggle to attract Europe’s biggest stars due to the immense pressure that comes with playing for a club like United.
“If you go out and buy one great player, he’s not going to come to Manchester United because he knows it’s going to be too much pressure put on him,” Parker recently told The Sun.
“So United is about to try to get quality players to come to them, because they know if they go there expectations are going to be too much.
“As much as they want to play for Manchester United and put themselves in that position, there’s only so much you want to put on yourself, because you don’t really want the Harry Maguire treatment, do you?”
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