Benfica forward Darwin Nuñez has broken his silence on his future with the Portuguese Primera Liga club as reports continue to link him with a move to Manchester United.
The 22-year-old Uruguayan striker joined the Portuguese club from Spanish Segunda Division club UD Almeria in the summer of 2020 and after struggling to fit into the culture of Portuguese football, has found his foot, planting it solidly into the ground.
This season, Nuñez has scored 32 goals in 34 total appearances for Benfica (24 in 24 in the league) while playing all across attack for the club. He is now one of Europe’s most valuable players and is attracting interest from all across the continent.
One of the clubs interested is Manchester United, who, reportedly, are looking to make a move for him in the summer to make him the first signing of their incoming manager, Erik ten Hag.
Nuñez was given high praise recently by Jürgen Klopp before Benfica and Liverpool played out a 3-3 draw at Anfield in the second leg of their quarter final tie on Tuesday.
Klopp said of Nuñez: “[He is an] Extremely good-looking boy and a decent player as well. Really good, really good, I have to say.
“I knew him before, of course but he played pretty much in front of me with these tough battles with Ibou Konate.
“Physically strong, quick, was calm with his finish when he finished the goal off. Good, really good. If he stays healthy, it’s a big career ahead of him.”
The Uruguayan, who has reportedly been endorsed as a signing United should explore by his senior in the Uruguay national team, Edinson Cavani, remains focused despite all the news linking him with a move away from Estadio da Luz.
“What the Liverpool coach [Jurgen Klopp] said, I take it as a compliment, but my mind is on Benfica,” Nuñez told Portuguese broadcaster TVI in a recent interview. “I won’t say anything, and I’ll leave everything for this shirt.
“My job is to continue like this, to take advantage of this luck that is happening to me. Last year I didn’t play at all, but this year I’m having an incredible season.
“I have to continue like this, and there is also a lot of merit from my colleagues.”
Nuñez is set to cost any club who want to recruit him £60 million in transfer fees asides the salary and agent fees, which could see any operation rise to an estimated £75 million.
Benfica’s club-record signing has more than repaid the club’s €24 million investment in him, but still has three years to go on his contract.
Elsewhere, United midfielder Fred has asked the club’s fans to keep supporting them ahead of their planned protest on Saturday.
Man United fans have been vocal about their dislike for current club owners, The Glazer family, for many seasons now. They are currently planning another protest at Old Trafford as they push for the billionaires to sell the club.
United take on Premier League bottom club Norwich City FC on the same day, and Fred has appealed for calm.
The Brazilian, who is one of a few bright sparks in a grossly underperforming United side this season, also asked the fans for forgiveness for the way the season has gone, and asked for support in the same vein.
“I know the fans wanted much more from this season,” Fred told Manchester United TV. “They wanted us to go further in all competitions, the cups and the Champions League.
“We could have gone further, but I’m sure the fans will support us throughout, we know they’re behind us. We’ll aim to do our best, so they’re always alongside us.
“We want them beside us, constantly shouting and celebrating every goal. I’m sure they’ll be with us in the forthcoming games.”