Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez this summer. The club’s technical director Edu, is believed to have spoken with the 22-year-old’s agent, however, the Uruguayan has also been linked with moves to a number of clubs including Newcastle, Tottenham and Liverpool.
The Gunners are keen to add to their attacking options in the upcoming transfer window after failing to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following his move to Barcelona in January. Meanwhile, Alexandre Lacazette will leave the club on a free transfer when his contract expires on June 30.
Nunez is one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe after plundering 34 goals in 41 games for Benfica and is widely expected to leave the Portuguese giants this summer. According to Italian football journalist Gianluca di Marzio the Uruguay international was close to joining Barcelona before he arrived at Estadio da Luz, and will join a Premier League club in the upcoming transfer window.
He said: “The situation has changed, because with Jorge Mendes as a [new] agent, the best solution will certainly be found for him. Mendes works well in the Premier League, well in Spain.
“Barcelona already wanted him when he was at Almeria, he was very close to changing. The former sporting director of Barca Ramon Planes offered Almeria I think 8 million euros plus bonuses so that the player stays with Almeria for another year and comes a year later.
“Ronald Koeman wanted Luuk de Jong, but still gave his consent. When the two parties were close to an agreement, Benfica intervened, offering around €22 million and signing the player immediately.
“When he arrived at Benfica he scored two goals against Barca, Koeman said to Plans on the plane after the game: ‘So this is this Nunez, because you wanted to sign’.
“Nowadays, everyone knows about the potential of Nunez. Benfica is a club that sells its players for a lot of money, so it will be especially interesting for PL clubs because they have a lot of money available.
“They can bid between €50 million and €70 million, as the clubs there are rich. Darwin Nunez will play in the Premier League. I don’t know where, but at a club that needs a striker for its new project.”
Nunez will be a target for a host of top clubs across the continent this summer. However, it remains to be seen if the Gunners can attract a player of his quality after failing to qualify for the Champions League.