Benfica have quoted Manchester United a huge asking price for Darwin Nunez, while a number of Ten Hag’s other key targets look tricky to secure deals for.
Erik ten Hag faces mounting transfer frustration as Manchester United fear they will be priced out of a summer move for Darwin Nunez.
Ten Hag has already begun work as the new United manager in a bid to turn the club around following a nightmare 2021-22 season, with the Red Devils finishing sixth in the Premier League and ending up trophyless for the fifth year in a row. The Glazers have appointed former Ajax coach Ten Hag in a bid to implement bold changes, with the Dutchman tasked with revamping the club’s playing style while rebuilding a squad which will undergo drastic changes this summer.
Benfica striker Nunez is one of Ten Hag’s main targets to boost United’s attacking options, though the Uruguayan will not come cheap. United’s summer budget has been hit by missing out on Champions League football, and – as first reported in the Daily Star – now Benfica have have told United it will cost around £100million to bring Nunez to Old Trafford. Such a fee would make 22-year-old Nunez the joint-most expensive signing in British football history alongside Jack Grealish, who left Aston Villa for Manchester City for a nine-figure sum a year ago.
The Red Devils believe Benfica’s valuation is too high for a player who has played fewer than 60 games for the Portuguese giants. United won’t walk away from a potential deal, but have told Benfica to quote a more realistic valuation.
Nunez joined Benfica from Spanish side Almeria in 2020 for €24m (£20.4m). The deal made the striker the most expensive signing in Portuguese football history, though the club are looking to make a huge return on their initial investment. He has gone on to establish himself as one of the most sought after young talents in Europe, while Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea have also been keeping close tabs on the forward.
Nunez proved a huge success in Lisbon, and scored 26 goals in 28 games in his second season to become top scorer in the league. Nunez made his international debut in 2019 and scored against Peru on his first appearance. United have had him watched several times and are keen to strike a deal, but will not be held to ransom and are prepared to look elsewhere if Benfica refuse to reduce the asking price.
The latest situation with Nunez leaves Ten Hag facing mounting frustration in his attempts to land some of his summer targets. Declan Rice is expected to spend another season with West Ham, Kalvin Phillips favours a move to Manchester City while Jude Bellingham would prefer to join Liverpool when he decides to leave Borussia Dortmund.
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