Friday, September 29, 2023

Manchester United Initiate Contact Over Bringing 32-Goal Benfica Striker: Right Choice For Ten Hag?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

According to Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor (via GiveMeSport), Manchester United have already initiated contact with Benfica over a potential deal for striker Darwin Nunez as Erik Ten Hag looks set to add to his attacking options.

“I do sort of question where United’s priorities lie; it’s probably a striker to help Ronaldo.” – He told GiveMeSport.

“So, Darwin Nunez, I know he’s a player definitely that United like, and they’ve initiated contact with Benfica and his agent to sort of gauge what kind of price tag would be enough to get him.”

Although the 22-year-old forward has a £100m release clause in his contract, it is believed that an offer in the region of €60m (£50.6m) would be enough to secure his services.  

With Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Chelsea also interested, the Uruguayan international’s wish to play in the Champions League next season might put the Red Devils out of the race for his signature.

Having come through the ranks at Uruguayan club Penarol, Nunez signed for UD Almeria in August 2019. However, a year later, he signed for Portugal giants Benfica for a club-record fee of €24 million (£21.8 million).  With 14 goals and 12 assists, it’d be an understatement to say that the Uruguay international had an excellent debut season with the Eagles. Even this term, he has scored thirty-two goals in thirty-nine appearances across all competitions. 

Benfica Players
Benfica’s Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez (L) gestures on during the Portuguese League football between SL Benfica and FC Porto at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on May 7, 2022. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
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The 22-year-old striker has put some awe-inspiring numbers on the board this season – averaging three shots, 1.1 key passes, 1.4 dribbles and 0.6 long balls per ninety minutes in the Liga NOS. Furthermore, with an average WhoScored rating of 7.62, he has established himself as one of the best players in Portugal’s top-flight football.  

The Right Choice For Ten Hag?

Marcus Rashford has been in terrible form over the past few months, whereas it’s highly likely that Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard will depart the club in the summer. Juan Mata’s contract expires at the end of the season, while Mason Greenwood remains suspended until further notice after being arrested on suspicion of rape and assault.  

Given the circumstances, Manchester United need some fresh recruitments in the attacking department if they intend to strengthen the present squad – and Nunez fits the bill perfectly. At 22, he has emerged as one of Europe’s top strikers and will add much-needed depth to the United squad. Hence, Ten Hag should try and get this deal over the line in the coming months.  

(Stats from WhoScored) 

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