Darwin Nunez is seen as the next Edinson Cavani in South America
Pep Guardiola has made finding Sergio Aguero’s successor a priority after committing his future to Manchester City, with Benfica striker Darwin Núñez among the players under consideration.
Guardiola extended his contract at the Etihad Stadium last week and will rebuild his squad with a forward and is also in the market for a left-back during future transfer windows.
City are monitoring Lionel Messi’s contract situation at Barcelona, although Guardiola wants him to stay at the Nou Camp. And finding a long-term No 9 is the Spaniard’s priority as he looks to shape his squad.
Aguero will be 33 at the end of the season and will effectively decide his own future at City after his glittering decade at the club, where he won their first league title in 44 years when his last-gasp goal against Queens Park Rangers clinched the Premier League in 2012.
City’s greatest goalscorer has often talked about returning to Independiente in his homeland Argentina to finish his career where it started at a stadium which was refurbished with the money from his move to Atletico Madrid in 2006.
Aguero could extend his contract at City but they will still look at bringing in a younger forward. Núñez, 21, has impressed following his £21.8million move to Benfica last season, but it is felt he needs more time to develop before playing in England. The Uruguay international is seen as the next Edinson Cavani in South America.
Romelu Lukaku was a player City looked at in the summer but Inter Milan set a £93.75million asking price for the Belgium forward they signed from Manchester United in 2019. City have looked to spend at the £70million-mark for their top signings, insisting on value in the market and refusing to overpay.
Harry Kane has also been on the list of top clubs but Tottenham Hotspur are determined to keep the England striker at the club, where he has a contract until 2024.
City are unlikely to make their move for a striker mid-season but will assess their options over the next seven months before moving for the right player they feel will add to Guardiola’s attack.
At left-back, Benjamin Mendy has not played since Oct 3, while Oleksandr Zinchenko has started just two Champions League games all season. Joao Cancelo has stepped in but has played mainly at right-back during his career.