Manchester United are set to add a forward in the coming months, and with Erling Haaland joining Manchester City, they may have to target other players with Benfica’s Darwin Nunez among them
Manchester United were among those to be linked with Erling Haaland when he first burst onto the scene, but have seen him head to neighbours Manchester City.
The Red Devils were never chasing the Norwegian this summer but are in the market for reinforcements in the final third. Edinson Cavani is leaving whilst Anthony Martial could also follow him out of the exit door. Marcus Rashford is also lacking form and has done for several months, leaving question marks over his future.
That has led to United’s interest in Darwin Nunez, who has enjoyed a breakout year with Benfica. The forward scored 34 times for the Portuguese side and has a host of top clubs courting his signature. Benfica have shown their willingness to sell their in-demand stars for the right price.
Nunez could be a major summer mover and highlighted his credentials on the European stage as Benfica made the last eight in Europe. He notched at Anfield and has received a glowing endorsement from Virgil van Dijk when the Dutchman named his top stars.
“Aguero was obviously unbelievable,” said Van Dijk. “Messi, arguably the best player in the history of football in my opinion. Mbappe is different, quick… Haaland and also Darwin. He’s a bit similar – very direct, quick, tall, strong and it’s quite difficult to play against him.”
Nunez refused to entertain talk about his future until the season was over but the rumour mill is now in full swing. Erik ten Hag is in the process of assessing his squad at Carrington before he makes any decisions on recruitment.
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Upon his arrival the Dutchman said: “I just said, I am still in the process of analysing to set conclusions. I am looking forward to working with these players. The season before, this squad was second in the league, so there is huge potential. I think if we improve, if we can work with them, I think we can get out more than what is now the result from this season.”
He also added: “Yes, it’s right. Recruitment is an important part.” Ten Hag was specifically quizzed on the future of Cristiano Ronaldo, the club’s top scorer this term. The forward returned to Manchester in the summer but will turn 38 midway through the campaign.
Ten Hag said Ronaldo would bring “goals” to his team but refused to be drawn on any conversations he will have with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner regarding his leadership role. He said: “I will talk first with Ronaldo before I talk with you.”