Benfica boss Nelson Verissimo has suggested that Arsenal and Chelsea target Darwin Nunez could be worth as much as Joao Felix. The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Uruguayan striker for some time, with the club keen on bolstering their forward options.
Both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are out of contract in the summer, leaving Arsenal with a considerable vacancy at the top end of the pitch. A number of candidates have been mooted, including Alexander Isak and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, with Nunez also firmly among them. Elsewhere, Chelsea could be looking for forward replacements, with club record signing Romelu Lukaku continuing to misfire, whilst Timo Werner has regularly been linked with moves away.
It is suggested by The Athletic that the Blues – alongside Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain – are the current frontrunners for Nunez’s services, news that will certainly concern Arsenal. Another major doubt that could arise ahead of any potential deal is that the striker could be set to cost a princely sum.
Reports have suggested that a fee in the region of £67m could be enough to tempt Benfica into selling their star asset. Interim boss Verissimo has refuted those claims though and hinted that he would only accept a bid similar to the huge £113m fee that took Joao Felix from the Estadio da Luz to Atletico Madrid in 2019.
He said: “Darwin is an excellent player, he has shown all his quality. He has helped the team a lot, it is true that the team has also helped him a lot.
“He is a young player, with a lot of potential, it is natural that given what has been his growth throughout this season and also a lot as an outcome of the performance he has had in the Champions League games, it is natural that he arouses the interest of the big European clubs.
“It will be at the end of this season or the following season, depending on what it has shown, it is natural that it will arouse interest from other clubs and naturally there may be the timing in which it goes. Now regarding numbers, I hope as a Benfica fan that he will leave for numbers close to those that were João Félix’s numbers.
“Now it’s not for me to enter numbers on that question. In what is my day-to day with the player, in what he has given to us to observe in training and in the game.”
The demands for a considerable fee are certainly no surprise considering Nunez’s form for the Portuguese giants so far this season. He has scored 31 goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick in his most recent outing against Belenenses at the weekend.