Darwin Nunez is ‘one to watch’ as Newcastle look to further strengthen their squad, according to The i’s Northern Football Correspondent Mark Douglas.
The lowdown: Goalscorers wanted
Newcastle, Douglas says, ‘made enquiries’ about Nunez last month, before the transfer window opened.
They’ve already strengthened their striker ranks this month with the £25million signing of Chris Wood from relegation rivals Burnley.
They should also have top scorer Callum Wilson back from injury in around five weeks time.
The Magpies have, however, only managed to net 21 goals in their first 21 Premier League matches, so it makes sense that they would want even more firepower.
Transfermarkt value Nunez, who still has three and half years left on his SL Benfica contract, at £28.8million.
The latest: Surprise!
Sources at St James’ Park have apparently spoken about a ‘potential surprise’ in the final knockings of the window, reports Douglas, aside from the more heavily reported targets like Jesse Lingard and Diego Carlos.
Clubs are expected to lower price tags to more ‘realistic’ territory as it becomes clear that ‘Newcastle’s is the only offer that is likely to materialise’.
Douglas has urged Newcastle fans to keep an eye on Nunez in the final week of trading, suggesting he may be the ‘surprise’ arrival.
The verdict: Perfect signing
Wilson will be 30 next month and Wood is there already, while Nunez is still only 22, so perhaps Newcastle envisage building their attack around the Uruguayan long-term.
And it’s no wonder they like him – his record is magnificent. This season, he’s scored 20 goals in just 25 appearances in all competitions, averaging one every 79 minutes.
Yes, the Primeira Liga may not be the standard as the Premier League (it ranks sixth in UEFA’s coefficient, while the PL is top), but Nunez has also carried his form into the UEFA Champions League.
Perhaps this is a deal to revisit in the summer, though, because Benfica know that selling a prize asset at this late stage could spark a late scramble for a replacement.
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