Manchester United have received a boost ahead of their potential summer pursuit of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez. The highly-rated star has snubbed interest from Newcastle United and clarified a decisive condition United and other suitors must meet if they want his signature.
Earlier this month, reports claimed Nunez would leave Benfica this summer for a fee in the region of £66million. Arsenal and West Ham United monitored the 22-year-old in January, whilst United have also discussed his name internally in their striker search.
Newcastle emerged as an interested party in recent weeks in an attempt to make a significant statement in their first summer window under Saudi-backed ownership. However, according to the Telegraph, Nunez has rejected a switch to the Magpies, and they have now turned their focus towards Brentford’s Ivan Toney.
Newcastle have accepted defeat in the race to sign Nunez because he made one thing clear – he wants to play in Europe next season. More specifically, the Uruguay international wants to join a Champions League club this summer, which could also be bad news for United.
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The Red Devils currently face a fight to qualify for next season’s Champions League through a top-four finish. They sit fifth in the Premier League, three points behind Tottenham Hotspur and are approaching a daunting run of fixtures against Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in the next nine days.
If Ralf Rangnick fails to guide the club to fourth and Europa League is on the agenda next term, it could affect the level of player Erik ten Hag can attract in his first transfer window at the helm. United are expected to be lively this summer, with Ten Hag kickstarting his rebuild at Old Trafford and several current first-team players leaving on free transfers.
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A club of United’s magnitude could have a far stronger case than Newcastle, though, and have previously attracted some of the biggest names in European football with the Champions League on offer. Nunez could be attracted by the proposition of leading the line at the dawn of a new era at one of the world’s biggest clubs.
He has also idolised Edinson Cavani, a hero amongst the Old Trafford terraces, throughout his career and might be tempted to follow in his footsteps. If United were to secure his services at the end of the season, Nunez would undoubtedly be one of the marquee transfers of the entire window.
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