Man Utd now 'extremely close' to signing £50.6m star at Old Trafford

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag at Selhurst Park

Manchester United are ‘extremely close’ to signing Benfica striker Darwin Nunez, according to journalist Dean Jones.

The Red Devils appear to be closing in on the signature of the in-demand 22-year-old as new manager Erik ten Hag looks to get his tenure off to a good start.

What is the latest news involving Nunez?

United have been heavily linked with a move for Nunez for several months now after it became clear signing a new striker would be a priority for the club this summer.

Last month, The Athletic’s David Ornstein revealed that the Old Trafford outfit were joined by Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain in the race to secure the Uruguay international’s services.

It was originally reported that Benfica were eager to get a deal done early in the window and had set an asking price in the region of €70 million (£58.2m).

However, it’s now believed that Nunez will set any potential suitor back just €60m (£50.6m) after the Eagles lined up Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic as their preferred replacement.

What has Jones said about Nunez?

Jones has provided an update on United’s pursuit of Nunez, revealing Atletico Madrid are considered to be their ‘main rivals’ for the South American star, although they are edging ever nearer to bringing him to the red half of Manchester.

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In an interview with GiveMeSport, he said: “One source described this deal to United to me as being ‘extremely close’.

“They consider Atletico Madrid as their main rivals to sign him, from what I hear, but obviously, loads around Europe are looking. If Darwin does move to Old Trafford, it will be a brilliant signing for the Ten Hag era.”

Is Nunez the answer to United’s striker issues?

With Edinson Cavani leaving on a free transfer, Mason Greenwood unavailable due to an ongoing police investigation and Anthony Martial expected to seek pastures new, a new source of goals will surely take precedence for United in this window.

And Nunez could well be the answer to their problems in the final third of the pitch after he found the back of the net on 34 occasions throughout 2021/22, providing a further four assists in 41 appearances.

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Six of those strikes came in his 10 Champions League outings this season as the imposing figure of the 6 foot 2 ace fired Benfica to the quarter-finals, and he also made a big impression domestically.

Nunez claimed the Primeira Liga Golden Boot with his 26 goals despite Benfica finishing 17 points behind champions Porto, and Ten Hag will surely be hoping he can replicate that sort of productivity at United should he make the switch.

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