Nunez to Barcelona? Benfica boss Jesus says he is expecting no departures in January

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 17 May 2021 22:35 CEST 4 min read
Nunez to Barcelona? Benfica boss Jesus says he is expecting no departures in January

Benfica head coach Jorge Jesus has played down reports linking striker Darwin Nunez with a January move to Barcelona, saying he is expecting no players to leave the club in the winter window.

In the summer of 2020, Barcelona looked in pole position to sign the Almeria striker, who had scored 16 goals in the Spanish Segunda in the 2019/20 campaign.

But, after balking at the asking price, the Blaugrana decided against making a move for the Uruguayan, which opened up the door for Benfica to break their transfer record for the player.

Benfica completed a deal for Nunez worth £21.8 million [€24m] which was also the record fee paid by a Portuguese club.

Darwin Nunez: Snapshot

Statistic2019/202020/21
Appearances3213
Goals166
Assists35
Shots P903.03.2
Touches In Box P905.88.0
Via FootballCritic

Nunez has continued his development into the new season, as he has scored six and assisted five over all competitions, though the majority of his goals have come in the Europa League group stage.

FootballTransfers reported that Barcelona technical director Ramon Planes was spotted at Benfica’s 2-1 victory against Pacos Ferreira last weekend, with the development of Nunez the reason for his visit to Lisbon.

Spanish outlet Sport believes that Barcelona see the former Penarol forward as a star of the future, and are putting together a deal that would potentially see him move to the Camp Nou in 2022.

That would line-up with the comments of Jesus, who insists none of his players will be leaving this January.

“I am not prepared to lose any player in January, on the contrary, I am prepared to have some more,” the Benfica boss replied when asked about Nunez’s future.

With Benfica having completed the deal for Nunez for a record fee in the summer, they would demand much more in from Barca if they were to contemplate the idea of selling one of their star strikers, especially in January.

At the moment, Barcelona are massively struggling financially, and would likely not be in a position to bid for Nunez unless they managed to offload players first.