Manchester United one of three front-runners in pursuit for Darwin Nunez

Manchester United have been named as one of the three front-runners who are chasing the signature of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez.

The 22-year-old scored his third hat-trick of the season on Saturday as the Portuguese giants beat Belenenses 3-1.

Benfica’s number nine has now broken the 30-goal barrier for the campaign and has 31 goals in 36 matches.

Such has been his explosive form in front of goal, the Uruguayan international has attracted interest from several of Europe’s top clubs and he is set to be the subject of several bids during the summer.

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However, while many clubs have been credited with an interest in the South American, the Athletic report the three front-runners for his signature are currently United, Chelsea, and Paris Saint Germain.

The same report states that the Lisbon-based side are open to selling their star man, with his price anticipated to be around £70million euros.

With the Portuguese giants wanting ample time to find a suitable replacement for Nunez, the Athletic claim that a deal could be concluded early in the summer window.

But following Nunez’s latest hat-trick, Benfica boss Nelson Verissimo hopes his side can set a similar asking price for the former Almeria man as they did Joao Felix.

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Verissimo is well aware of the growing interest in the Uruguayan international, but he believes Europe’s heavyweights should have to pay similar to the £113million Atletico Madrid paid to land Felix in July 2019.

With Benfica reportedly wanting to address Nunez’s future as soon as possible, the lack of clarity surrounding the Manchester United management position could hamper the Reds chances.

But the biggest stumbling block is likely to be luring Nunez to Old Trafford when we don’t have Champions League football to offer.

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Nunez has five Champions League goals to his name this season and they have come against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax and Liverpool.

It’s been well-documented that the man who will eventually fill the Uruguay void left by his legendary compatriots Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez wants to compete in the best club competition in the world.

Manchester United aren’t going to be able to offer Darwin Nunez that, but playing a leading role in the Red Devils rebuild, potentially under Ten Hag, could still be an appealing proposition for one of Europe’s most-coveted forwards.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.