Man Utd hold crucial advantage in Darwin Nunez transfer race as Benfica demands emerge

Benfica striker Darwin Nunez has been tipped to leave the Estadio Da Luz this summer, with Manchester United keen on the Uruguay international after a great season

Nunez threw Erik ten Hags Ajax out of the Champions League
Nunez threw Erik ten Hags Ajax out of the Champions League

Manchester United could have the edge in the pursuit of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez thanks to the involvement of super agent Jorge Mendes.

Mendes, whose agency is representing Gestifute United striker Ronaldo, has replaced the Uruguayan’s previous representatives ahead of a possible summer move. United are far from the only club in the mix, Arsenal are also among the clubs but they may feel they have an advantage now.

United’s lack of Champions League football could remain an issue, with reports previously suggesting it was a stumbling block to a potential deal. However, the Red Devils are expected to keep pushing for a man Benfica are expected to accept €80m (£68m) for.

According to The Athletic, Mendes will be working on a likely summer move after securing a deal to take over from Nunez’s compatriot Edgardo Lasalvia. The same report also refers to coach Erik ten Hag’s attitude towards Ronaldo amid the Portuguese agent’s involvement.

“What I have to say about that is that the detailed analysis has yet to start, I still have to work with the team but let me be clear there are a lot of good players at United,” said Ten Hag when quizzed about the squad he inherits from Ralf Rangnick: “We have to make sure they work as a team, but definitely Ronaldo, he’s a giant.”

United are expected to invest in attack among other things this summer. They are already down a man as Nunez’s international colleague Edinson Cavani plays his final game for the club in the season-ending game at Crystal Palace.

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Nunez was the top scorer in Primeira Liga last season


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“I sincerely have nothing but words of gratitude to the Manchester United fans and supporters,” outgoing striker Cavani told the club’s media team. “To be honest, they showed me a lot of respect from the moment I arrived.

“I think they really appreciated all the hard work I’ve always tried to do my best and do my best for this team. I am really very grateful and will leave here with a happy memory of the love they showed and always showed me.”

Nunez scored 26 goals in the Primeira Liga last season, six more than his closest rivals and 34 in all competitions. However, it was only enough for Benfica to finish third, who now have to qualify to get into the Champions League next season.

The former Almeria frontman also impressed in the Champions League, scoring six times. Those goals included a winner against Ten Hag’s Ajax side in the round of 16 and goals in both games of Benfica’s quarter-final loss to Liverpool.

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