Arsenal have been handed a huge boost in their pursuit of Darwin Nunez as Benfica prepare for life without the striker, according to reports. It comes ahead of a huge summer for the Gunners, who will be preparing to bolster their squad ahead of the next campaign.
While Mikel Arteta missed out on Europe last season, this campaign has seen his side push on for continental football once again. However, despite being in the driving seat for a top four finish, defeat to Newcastle on Monday means they are relying on a slip up from North London rivals Tottenham to earn Champions League football.
Discussing the chances of a top four finish, the Spaniard said: “We need to win and we need a defeat for them. We know that in football anything is possible. You have to be there. Today we have to swallow all the poison that we can and tomorrow start again.”
The end of the season could determine the business that the club can do going forward, building the squad based on the competitions they will compete in next season. A number of areas may be a priority for Arteta, with strength in depth needed after missing the chance to add some in January.
One particular position for additions is likely to be in the striking department, with duo Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah set to leave as free agents in the summer. That leaves academy graduate Folarin Balogun as the only natural centre-forward option, with Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe touted with the opportunity to play centrally.
A host of players have been linked to fill the role, from Dominic Calvert-Lewin to Jonathan David all the way to Benfica’s Darwin Nunez. The latter has particularly impressed, ending the Portuguese season as the top scorer and being linked with high-profile clubs.
His speed and finishing power make him an unstoppable force sometimes, as shown when he breached the Liverpool defence several times in the Champions League quarter-finals. And it seems as though the Primera Liga club are willing to let him leave this summer, as the Athletic report that they have identified Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic as a potential replacement.
It is believed that the Austria international could move for €25million (£21million), allowing Nunez to potentially leave for roughly €60million (£50.5million). It represents a huge boost to the Gunners, if they are to position themselves to try and sign the Uruguayan international.