Rumours that Manchester United are trying to hijack Darwin Nunez’s transfer from Benfica to Liverpool have been dismissed as the player looks set to sign for Liverpool.
The Athletic broke the news yesterday that personal terms have been agreed and it is expected that a deal worth up to £85.5m will be struck between Benfica and the Merseyside club.
The only hurdle that remains is the structure of the deal, with Benfica pushing for a guaranteed £68m, with the remainder made up of realistic performance-related add-ons.
This would likely smash Liverpool’s previous transfer value record of £75m which was set when they transformed their defence with the signing of Virgil van Dijk.
Reports earlier in the week claimed that United had themselves put a bid forward for the striker that amounted to €80 million in cash installments plus €20 million in bonuses plus a player worth €10 million.
United are believed to have held talks with Darwin’s representatives last month, however rumours of the new manager flying out to meet the player appear to be false.
@theutdjournal tweeted today “#mufc held initial discussions on Darwin Nunez several weeks ago. United have other priorities at that type of fee though, and the suggestion Ten Hag boarded a flight to talk to Jorge Mendes was spurious”, citing The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell as their source.
🚨 #mufc held initial discussions on Darwin Nunez several weeks ago. United have other priorities at that type of fee though, and the suggestion Ten Hag boarded a flight to talk to Jorge Mendes was spurious #mujournal
— United Journal (@theutdjournal) June 10, 2022
Sport Witness claims that stories of United trying to hijack the deal could have been put out by Benfica to try to push Liverpool into increasing their offer.
While the Red Devils have seen what looked like a top heavy squad become so light in attack, it is likely that such a high financial outlay was off-putting, particularly with Cristiano Ronaldo firmly in Erik ten Hag’s plans as the main striker.
Many of Manchester United’s current attacking options also have a clear preference for the left half-space – the area in which Darwin Nunez does most of his best work.
Attacking reinforcements are still a priority, however, and it is expected that ten Hag will seek to reinforce the right-wing position. The representatives of his former player Antony are believed to be in Europe negotiating personal terms ahead of a possible £51m transfer (Goal.com).
One thing Antony certainly does have on Darwin Nunez – and every available senior attacker in the Manchester United squad, for that matter – is a strong left foot. Having generally built his teams with wingers who cut inside with the ball, it would be no surprise if this was regarded as especially important to the new boss.