Jose Mourinho identified Benfica striker Darwin Nunez as a possible transfer target during the summer, according to reports.
Tottenham were on the lookout for depth in attack to support Harry Kane. Eventually, they signed Carlos Vinicius – but only on loan.
While Vinicius made a positive impression on his debut against LASK, Tottenham could have signed someone else instead of him. According to Football.London, Mourinho wanted Spurs to sign Darwin Nunez at first.
Nunez and Vinicius were teammates for a few weeks before the latter moved to London. Shortly before letting Vinicius go, Benfica signed Nunez from Almeria.
Spurs had also been keeping tabs on Nunez, though, after he plundered in 16 goals in 30 games for Almeria in the Spanish second division.
Nunez is only 21, but has already played and scored for the senior Uruguay national team. His exploits in 2019-20 led to him becoming not just Benfica’s record signing, but the entire Portuguese league’s, at €24m (£22m).
Before then, Tottenham were considering entering the race for him – as were fellow Premier League side Brighton.
Now, Spurs may regret missing out on Nunez, as he is set to become worth around five times the amount that Benfica paid for him.
Benfica boss predicts world class rise for Nunez
After scoring a hat-trick in the Europa League and adding five assists in other games for Benfica so far, those at the Portuguese club have been left impressed by what they are seeing. Manager Jorge Jesus even thinks he could surpass the value of their record sale Joao Felix, who cost Atletico Madrid €126m (£113m).
“We got it right,” Jesus told Sport TV recently, referring to their signing of Nunez. “We must not forget that he is a kid, he is 21 years old, there is a lot about the game that he does not know yet.
“He will learn with me and Benfica. All this decision-making ability, finishing and speed.
“He was Benfica’s most expensive purchase, and when there is no pandemic, he will be the most expensive sale. He will be a world-class player.
“Unfortunately for me, maybe I will lose him in a short time.”