Benfica have started exploring deals for potential Darwin Nunez replacements, suggesting that they’ve accepted the Man Utd target could be set to leave this summer
Manchester United have been handed a big boost in their pursuit of Benfica forward Darwin Nunez after it was reported that Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic is a target for the Lisbon outfit, which in turn looks to be paving the way for Nunez’s exit this summer.
The Reds are after at least one new striker this summer, with interim boss Ralf Rangnick suggesting earlier this month that they need at least two quality additions in attack to ease the burden on Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Cristiano isn’t a central striker or does not want to play in that position,” Rangnick said. “It’s obvious the club needs at least two new strikers who give this team more quality and more options.”
Nunez is thought to be high on their list of targets and competition for his signature is expected to be fierce after a scintillating campaign from the 22-year-old – which has so far seen him score 31 goals while registering a further four assists across all competitions.
Beyond his goals, he’s a player who has a profile well suited to new manager Erik ten Hag’s brand of football, and it’s therefore it’s easy to see why United are willing to pay the estimated £52million to land him.
Nunez has most often lined up in a front two within a 4-4-2 formation, though Benfica can be fairly fluid in their approach meaning he’ll have to adapt and thrive in different roles. When not featuring as an out and out forward, you’ll often see him operating on the left of his side’s attack, this is despite being right-footed.
Playing on this side though allows him to utilise his blistering pace to run at and bypass defenders before cutting inside onto his favoured foot to unleash efforts at goal.
Nunez’s physical profile makes him a real handful for opposition defenders too. He stands at 6ft2 meaning he’s an ever-present threat in the air and only one player across the whole of Portugal’s top tier can better his four headed league goals this season.
His size also makes him tough to dislodge in duels, a point captured by the fact that no Liga forward who has played 1000+ league minutes this season can better his defensive duel success rate of 63.79%.
In many ways, Nunez has the full package in terms of what United are looking for and with Benfica seemingly resigned to losing him, confidence should be growing that United could be on course to sign a forward who has the potential to transform their attack next season.