Arsenal are ahead of their rivals in the race to secure Benfica striker Darwin Nunez this summer, according to reports in Portugal.
It was reported at the beginning of this month that Newcastle United and Man Utd are interested in Nunez, who attracted a big bid from Premier League side West Ham in the January transfer window.
Nunez has scored 40 goals in 77 matches for Benfica, since joining the Portuguese club from Spanish side Almeria in 2020, with 26 of those goals coming in 33 appearances this campaign.
The Uruguay international was linked with Arsenal earlier this month before a report yesterday claimed that he was one of six names on a striker shortlist at the Emirates Stadium.
Alexander Isak, Jonathan David, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Victor Osimhen and Armando Broja were the other five names on the list, while it was claimed that talks had ‘already taken place’ with Nunez.
And now Portuguese newspaper Record (via Sport Witness) claims that Arsenal have launched a ‘charm offensive’ to try and persuade Nunez that a move to the Emirates would be the right step for his career.
Arsenal are understood to be ‘a few steps above’ West Ham and Newcastle with Mikel Arteta’s side looking increasingly likely to secure that final Champions League spot in the Premier League.
The Gunners will be able to ‘seduce’ Nunez after they cleared Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s huge wages off their books at the end of January.
However, a deal will not come cheap with Record claming that Benfica are confident they can negotiate a €80m (£67m) deal for the striker.
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arteta was happy with goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s performance in their 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at the weekend.
The German made only his fourth Premier League start of the season after Aaron Ramsdale took the number one spot earlier in the season.
However, with Ramsdale injured, Leno kept a clean sheet in between the sticks to earn praise from his manager.
“He had control, emotionally he was prepared and I’m really happy for him,” Arteta said. “Obviously it’s been a tough few months for him because he’s always played in his career, but he has stayed there, Aaron has been here to support him and it’s great to see those things.
“His reaction has been very good, accepting the role, it’s very difficult not accepting it, but relaxing about it, just trying to push and improve in every area and this is what we want from our players.”