BT Sport pundit Steven McManaman believes Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, should be prepared to pay as much as €60m (£50m) for Benfica striker Darwin Nunez.
The Uruguayan international has scored 33 goals in all competitions this season and, after seeing him play against one of his former clubs, Liverpool, McManaman says the forward is well worth the price:
“I believe he will go for more than £40-50 million. Benfica will want more than that because of all the goals he’s scored. I don’t think it’ll be too much of a gamble for somebody if I’m being honest. Arsenal, Newcastle and even Manchester United will need a centre-forward because Edinson Cavani is set to leave at the end of the season and Cristiano Ronaldo is coming towards the end of his career.
“The price tag isn’t huge, as we’ve recently seen Liverpool pay £40 million for Luis Díaz, another talent from the Primeira Liga. If the overall package for the player is doable, say if that’s around €60 million, then I don’t believe it’s much of a risk for a 22-year-old such as him. He looks like a really hungry kid and he caused Liverpool a lot of problems.”
Unfortunately, McManaman’s estimated price tag is well below what Benfica are expected to ask for Nunez. Reports in the UK suggest that the Portuguese side could demand up to €80m (£67m). However, there are claims in Portugal indicating they could even hold out for a fee in excess of €100m (£84m).
The Gunners are in desperate need of a new number nine. Nunez would perfectly fit the bill, considering his age and his profile, but, with so many teams interested in the 22-year-old, it may prove to be a long shot, unless Mikel Arteta’s side seal Champions League qualification.