“With Karim Benzema aging and Real Madrid lacking a target man, Florentino Perez might start thinking of signing this young talent from Uruguay”
On September 4, 2020 – Portuguese club Benfiav signed a forward from Benfica named Darwin Nunez club for a record fee of €24 million. We are habituated to reading about such transfers regarding players from Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Italy, or Belgium; but not Uruguay. Now, the transfer of Nunez has certainly raised a huge interest among the fans and critics, who hails from Uruguay.
Born in Artigas, Nunez joined Peaarol’s youth setup in 2013, aged 14.
His first stay lasted only months, but he subsequently rejoined the club in 2014 and finished his formation.
Nunez spent the first months of 2017 nursing a knee injury.
He made his first-team – and Primera Division – debut in November 2017, coming on as a second-half substitute for Maxi Rodríguez in a 2–1 away loss against River Plate Montevideo, but had another knee surgery the following month.
Nunez scored his first professional goal in 2018, netting the opener in a 2–0 home defeat of Fénix.
In 2019, he scored a hat-trick in a 4–0 routing of Boston River.
A few months later, The Spanish Segunda Division side Almeria announced the signing of Núñez on a five-year deal, for a rumoured fee of US$4.5 million plus $1.5 million in variables.
He made his debut in October as a half-time substitute in a 4–2 league defeat against Sporting de Gijon.
A few weeks later, starting for the first time, Nunez scored the first goal for his new club in a 3–2 home win against Extremadura with a penalty.
He finished his only season at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos as the league’s joint fourth top scorer with 16 goals, led by compatriot Cristhian Stuani.
But, it is not all about Nunez, rather, he has special qualities that make him such a fascinating player.
At such a young age, Nunez is an effective target man but doesn’t restrict himself to remaining in the central channel. Whilst he can play in this space, working the center-backs, and dealing well with long balls played forward, he looks to explore wider spaces.
In doing so he can find space to receive where he can provide a line-breaking pass option, but he can also draw the opposition defenders well out of position as he does this.
Nunez is able to play quick touches away from defenders and can comfortably play one-touch passes, however, he also shows an ability to hold up possession. He backs into defenders effectively and uses his full frame to protect the ball when doing this.
He mixes up his approach by also seeking to roll a defender if they get too tight to him. He doesn’t do this with an overly high frequency but certainly enough to make defenders think twice about getting this tight to him,
Nunez varies his intentions in attack and on top of working as a target in attack he is also a highly dangerous runner in behind.
Nunez has quality acceleration and top speed and his mobility allow him to quickly change direction and break away from a tight marker.
Most importantly, Nunez is a scorer, eye-catching from outside the box, and also inside, he is a composed finisher, a team would love to have.
Those who have witnessed Ruben Sosa back in the 90s could understand how effective Nunez is and if he could exploit his talent properly, Nunez could be one of the greats like Luis Suarez in the coming days.
Benfica could be a breakthrough for Nunez and bigger clubs like Real Madrid, Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester City, and Atletico Madrid could run after him.
With Karim Benzema aging and Real Madrid lacking a target man, Florentino Perez might start thinking of signing this young talent from Uruguay. Yes, Perez has his eyes on signing Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, but that should not deter him from recognizing other shining diamonds.