Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City are reportedly set to battle each other to sign SL Benfica’s Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez.
According to a report from Italian outlet Calciomercato, the interest in SL Benfica forward Darwin Nunez is soaring with each passing day as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester City are all vying for his signing along with AC Milan and Inter Milan.
Nunez came through the youth ranks of Uruguayan outfit Penarol and made the switch to Europe in the summer of 2019 when he signed for Spanish second division side UD Almeria. In his debut season with the club, the 22-year-old impressed with a return of 16 goals and three assists in 32 appearances, prompting Benfica to sign him up last year.
Nunez enjoyed a fairly solid debut campaign with the Portuguese giants, accumulating 14 goals and 12 goals in 44 games across all competitions. He has started the 2021/22 season on an impressive note, having already netted six times in just ten matches across all competitions, including a brace in the famous win over Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
Nunez’s growth and development during his time in Portugal have led to increased interest in his services from several top clubs across Europe, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester City believed to be among his ardent suitors.
Barcelona lost two of their main forwards this past summer, with both Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann departing Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid, respectively. Luuk de Jong, who was brought in from Sevilla, has proven to be a dud and is unlikely to be signed permanently, while Sergio Aguero is not getting any younger and has struggled with injuries.
With Ousmane Dembele’s future also uncertain due to his contract situation, a new forward would become a necessary addition in the summer. And, a player like Nunez, who is comfortable playing as a No. 9 or on the flanks, can be a more than handy signing for the Catalan giants.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, need a long-term successor for star centre-forward Karim Benzema, who will be turning 34 in December. In addition, Gareth Bale is in the final year of his contract with Los Blancos, while Eden Hazard is facing an uncertain future in the Spanish capital due to his never-ending fitness issues.
A move for Kylian Mbappe has been touted for a while now. But adding another option like Nunez to support the Frenchman and build a strong strike-force to usher in a new and successful era would make sense for the Merengues. More so, considering that both Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz are out of favour at the club.
As for Manchester City, the Premier League champions did not replace Sergio Aguero after his summer transfer to Barcelona. The Cityzens have Gabriel Jesus as the only natural No. 9 in the squad currently. However, Ferran Torres had excelled playing as a centre-forward this season before being struck down by an injury, while Phil Foden has also shown potential when playing through the middle.
But, for Pep Guardiola’s side to maintain their dominance in England and take the next step in Europe, a quality striker would be a necessary signing, which explains their interest in Nunez. In addition to these clubs, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid are also interested in the 22-year-old Uruguayan, and it remains to be seen where he ends up in 2022.