Newcastle v Liverpool: Pictures
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Newcastle have reportedly scouted Benfica striker Darwin Nunez heavily as Eddie Howe prepares for a ‘busy summer’. The Magpies were taken over by a mega-rich Saudi-led consortium last autumn and have been one of the form sides in the Premier League since the turn of the year.
Newcastle looked destined for relegation to the Championship at the start of January after winning just one of their first 20 top-flight games. But they have since climbed to 10th in the Premier League table courtesy of 10 victories in their last 15 matches.
The Magpies shelled out £94million on five new signings in January – and it appears to have done the trick. But club chiefs know they need to improve further if they want to eventually compete with the best teams in the country.
According to The Mirror, Newcastle will be in the market for a goalscoring, quick striker this summer – and they have been doing their homework on Nunez. The 22-year-old has been in scintillating form this campaign and has racked up a staggering 34 goals in 40 matches.
Nunez hit six goals in the Champions League as Benfica progressed to the last 16, where they faced Liverpool. He found the back of the net in both legs of that showdown despite the fact his side were comprehensively defeated. And Reds boss Jurgen Klopp even insisted the ace had “a big career ahead of him.”
Nunez, who is thought to have a £67m release clause, has been linked with a whole host of top clubs, with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reportedly showing an interest. The Uruguay international is widely expected to move on at the end of the season – but Newcastle will clearly face stiff competition to land their man.
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Howe has done a remarkable job since taking the reins at St James’ Park – but that will count for little if he isn’t able to help the club kick on next season. The former Bournemouth manager will be under pressure for his side to challenge in the top half of the table. But he insists he has no plans to completely overhaul his squad.
“We hope a busy summer, the pressure is on us to do that,” Howe revealed. “But it certainly won’t be a revolution. We’ve got a good core group of players who we hope can take us a long way. Naturally, there will be some change. We have to evolve slightly – we have to improve.”
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