Barcelona didn’t manage to bring in a replacement for Luis Suarez in the summer transfer window but are targeting a potential move for 21-year-old Uruguay international Darwin Nunez.
The Catalan giants have “intensified their interest” in the Benfica No. 9 after he made a “fast start to life in Portugal,” according to ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.
Nunez joined Portuguese side Benfica in the summer from Almeria and has four goals and four assists in his first eight appearances for his new team, according to WhoScored.com.
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Praise for Darwin Nunez
Nunez’s instant impact at Benfica following his move has seen the youngster come in for plenty of praise and it’s easy to see why. The striker scored a hat-trick on his Europa League debut in some style.
🔴 First-ever UEL game
⚪️ Nets a hat-trick
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) October 26, 2020
The teenager cost Benfica a reported fee of €24 million but looks set to be a bargain if he can continue his current trajectory.
Benfica blessed by good fortune this summer when they failed to sign EdinsonCavani. Bought his compatriot Darwin Núñez instead, the 21-year-old Uruguayan proving a brilliant prospect. Boundless energy, physically imposing, wonderful tennique. @davidjaca was right. He's a #craque.
— Tom Kundert (@PortuGoal1) October 22, 2020
Benfica, it's well known, were very close to signing 33-year old Edinson Cavani this summer. Failing to agree terms, they turned to compatriot Darwin Núñez instead. 12yrs younger & already proving a top talent, I think Benfica ended up signing the right Uruguayan after all! pic.twitter.com/P4vS5vWV0u
— Alex Goncalves 🇵🇹⚽ (@Aljeeves) October 22, 2020
€25m probably sounds like a lot of money for a Segunda División player but if you’ve seen Núñez play – you’ll understand how smart this move is for Benfica.
Gutted to be losing him in Spanish football but I’m sure it won’t be long before the whole world are watching in awe https://t.co/4afaDrNUQW
— Andrew Miller (@AndrewMillerNBA) September 2, 2020
Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus has already said he’s expecting his club to make a big profit on the youngster, as reported by Goal.
We got it right. We must not forget that he is a kid, he is 21 years old, there is a lot about the game that he does not know yet. He will learn with me and Benfica. All this decision-making ability, finishing and speed…He was Benfica’s most expensive purchase, and when there is no pandemic, he will be the most expensive sale. He will be a world-class player. Unfortunately for me, maybe I will lose him in a short time.
Barcelona are expected to do business in January once a new president arrives at the Camp Nou. The club are due to hold elections following the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board.
Koeman Wants Depay?
Nunez appears to be an alternative option to Memphis Depay to Barcelona. The Catalan giants missed out on a move for the Lyon captain but are expected to revive their interest in January.
Manager Ronald Koeman told Dutch newspaper AD at the start of October that he was hopeful his side will try to land the Netherlands international again.
In principle everything was ready, but due to the rules of La Liga we knew that we had to sell a player first. In the end it did not happen. Too bad, but Memphis also knew what the situation was
[Trying to sign him in January] is certainly a possibility, yes. I will try, because I would like to have him here. But I cannot estimate now what the financial situation of the club is like in January.
Nunez may be a younger and more exciting prospect that Depay, but there’s no doubt the Dutchman will be a cheaper option. The 26-year-old is into the final year of his contract with the Ligue 1 side and will be a free agent at the end of the season.