Reported Newcastle United transfer target Darwin Nunez gave a timely reminder of the phenomenal goalscoring qualities he possesses with a hat-trick for Benfica last night.

The Magpies have been linked with a January move for the young striker.

Portuguese outlet Record claim that Newcastle are one of a number of clubs keen on the young star.

The Uruguayan international went into last night’s Liga Bwin league clash against Belenenses with eight goals and two assists to his name from 15 matches in all competitions this season.

FC Barcelona vs SL Benfica - UEFA Champions League
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Newcastle target Darwin Nunez stars

On a day that Eddie Howe’s Newcastle side lost 2-0 at Arsenal, which meant our wait for our first Premier League win of the season went on, Nunez’s trio of goals against Belenenses helped Benfica to a 7-0 win.

But it is worth noting that the Portuguese game was called off early in the second half when Belenenses were unable to field enough players.

League leaders Benfica may have been 7-0 up at half-time, but they were given a helping hand, as the relegation battlers began the game with nine players, two of them being goalkeepers.

Despite the game being all but over at half-time, the second half was still played, but the referee had no choice but to bring the game to a close when Belenenses goalkeeper Joao Monteiro – playing in midfield – went down injured meaning the minimum number of players were not on the field.

The game was subsequently abandoned.

Belenenses SAD v SL Benfica - Liga Portugal Bwin
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COVID tests carried out in the week saw 17 members of the Belenenses team having to isolate, which caused havoc to the side who are 18th in Primeira Liga.

However, Nunez’s hat-trick in the game took his tally to 11 goals this season, which is four fewer than what the entire Newcastle team has managed so far this season.

Benfica boss Jorge Jesus, who expects his young striker to become world class, has predicted that Nunez’s transfer fee when he eventually leaves the Portuguese giants, will end up being more than the club-record €126m (£113 million) they got for Joao Felix, when he moved to Atletico Madrid in July 2019.

With two goals in six caps for his country, Nunez looks ready to follow in the footsteps of his country’s world class striking duo Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, when the legendary pair do eventually retire.

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With Benfica on the cusp of qualifying for the Champions League last-16, it seems highly unlikely that Nunez would sacrifice playing in the world’s top club competition, for a relegation battle on Tyneside right now.

The astronomical money required to make Nunez a Newcastle player is not the type of transfer fees that the club’s new owners will want to immediately splash out on.

Away from the lure of glamour names and big money signings, the club desperately needs quality January reinforcements, who can aid our survival bid immediately.

Nunez will have to wait, but he is certainly the type of player that would fit under the bracket of a statement signing to announce a new era.

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