Manchester City have reportedly moved ahead of their rivals in the race to sign Benfica star Darwin Nunez, the striker having netted twice against Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek.
Those strikes – which were his first in the competition – are the latest indicator of just how talented the 22-year-old, having been on the radar of a number of Europe’s top sides in recent seasons.
He initially caught the eye after netting 16 league goals in his solitary season with Almeria in the Spanish second division, before making what was a club-record €24 million switch to the Portuguese giants in 2020, where he has since netted 20 goals in just 51 games in all competitions.
That includes six goals in just his first seven games of the new season with the Uruguayan’s stock firmly on the rise at present.
The report suggests that those rivals include the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, while Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich are also believed to be tracking his progress.
City are said to believe their recent transfer business with Nunez’s current side Benfica could stand them in good stead for completing the deal, having signed the likes of Ederson and Ruben Dias in recent years, with Nicolas Otamendi heading the other way as part of the latter deal.
The striking starlet has a release clause of around £125m, although Pep Guardiola’s side are ‘optimistic’ that they can strike a deal for a fee in the region of £70m.
The club are seemingly seeking a new centre-forward addition, having been knocked back in their public pursuit of Harry Kane over the summer, while they also reportedly came close to bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo prior to his move to rivals Manchester United.