Darwin Nunez and Duvan Zapata: Who are they and is a move to Newcastle United likely this month for the two South American stars?
Despite needing reinforcements in defence, Callum Wilson’s injury meant that Newcastle entered the window desperate for a striker.
The arrival of Chris Wood seemed to suppress this desperation, however, Newcastle are still reportedly in the market for another striker as they aim to add firepower ahead of their battle to survive the drop.
Benfica’s Darwin Nunez had been one player linked with a move to St James’s Park early in the window and, 20 days in, speculation surrounding the Uruguyan’s future have not disappeared.
Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata is also attracting attention with the Colombian reportedly the centre of a bid from the Magpies last week.
But just who are these two strikers, what might they add to Newcastle and, most importantly, are moves for the pair likely this window?
The story of Portugal’s top-flight this season has all been about Nunez. The 22-year-old has netted 14 times in 15 games this campaign, goals that fired top-scorers Benfica to third place.
Nunez also has three Champions League goals to his name, including a brace against Barcelona in September.
Form like this has caught the attention of some of the biggest clubs across Europe with Chelsea one of the sides reportedly interested in the striker.
Speaking in October about interest in Nunez, his agent Edgardo Lasalvia said:
“Darwin is ready to play in any team on the globe.”
“Various top-level teams have contacted us, but for the moment the head is on continuing and growing with Benfica and with the Uruguayan national team: this is how important things will come.”
Benfica will reportedly demand a fee of around £50m for Nunez but, as seems to be a feature of the window, they would be reluctant to see the striker depart midway through the season.
Newcastle have maintained their interest in Nunez throughout the window and may find it easier to get a deal for the striker completed this month rather than waiting till summer.
Naturally, if they drop into the Championship, a move for Nunez looks completely off the cards and even if they do survive in the Premier League, interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs in his services is only likely to increase at the end of this season.
Zapata has been one of the most consistent performers in Serie A in the past four seasons. Since his £10m move to Atalanta from Sampdoria, Zapata has scored 65 goals in 118 league games.
The 30-year-old has nine goals in just 16 appearances this season but has missed the last two league games with ‘muscular problems’.
In March last year, the Colombian revealed his hunger to score goals when he told DAZN:
“I can still improve. I could have scored more goals in Serie A, but there are many games left, and I can score more goals.”
Newcastle reportedly had a loan-to-buy bid for the Colombian rejected last week. £25m is the fee being touted for Zapata but as one of Atalanta’s main players and their biggest goal scoring threat, it will take a lot for them to allow the striker to depart this month.