Almost every Arsenal-related transfer rumour at the moment centers around which centre-forward(s) could arrive at the club during the summer window.
With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah out of contract in June, it’s no secret that bolstering that department is the main priority for the Gunners this summer and football.london understands that Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus and Roma’s Tammy Abraham are on Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu’s shortlist.
Another name being linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium is that of Benfica’s Darwin Nunez who is attracting interest from a host of clubs across Europe after impressing in the Primeira Liga as well as the Champions League with goals against Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool this season.
But to win the race for the Uruguay international, Arsenal may have to break their transfer record for a fourth time in less than a decade after expert Fabrizio Romano revealed how much it could cost to sign Nunez amid revealing the striker will be leaving Benfica in the summer.
“Darwin Nunez will leave the club, and €75m now could not be enough,” wrote Romano. “Talks opened for David Neres as a target, confirmed as reported by @ojogo – but nothing agreed yet.”
If €75m (£62m) is not enough to reach an agreement with Benfica for Nunez, one way to get a deal done with Gunners not needing to negotiate with the Portuguese outfit is by activating the €150m (£124m) release clause that is reportedly written into in his contract at the Estadio da Luz.
In this scenario, Nunez would become Arsenal’s most expensive signing and by some distance – eclipsing the £72m fee for Nicolas Pepe in the summer of 2019 – four months before Arteta was appointed as head coach. Although, any potential deal over £73m for the Nunez would have the same effect.
Interestingly, there are recent comments from Arteta that may rule out a big-money move for Nunez. When speaking to Sky Sports about how Liverpool were transformed by spending a combined £142m on Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, the Spaniard said Arsenal aren’t in a position to replicate such spending.
“I don’t think we are in a position where we can do that, so we have to find other ways to do it,” he said. “Liverpool, as well, have improved their players immensely, which is as important as bringing players in. And then, the ones that you buy, [it’s important] that they can have an impact straight away.
“That’s a big decision they have to make in recruitment, and then they are human beings as well. They have to adapt, and sometimes that’s a tricky question to answer before they are actually here.”