Liverpool could break their transfer record to sign Darwin Nunez from Benfica, according to reports. Here are five reasons why they might.
Both Fabrizio Romano and CMJornal in Portugal claim Liverpool have put in a club record transfer bid for Darwin Nunez. Benfica are currently considering it. This comes as the Athletic report that such a fee – around £85m – wouldn’t deter the Reds.
And that’s something of a shock, of course. Go back a year and no one is talking about Nunez as a €100m player. So what changed and why could Liverpool be the ones to pay that figure?
Here are five reasons why Liverpool can justify that record transfer fee.
Liverpool could make Darwin Nunez their record transfer
32 goals last season
So here’s the obvious one – Nunez bagged 32 goals across the Primeira Liga and Champions League last season. That will put him on everyone’s radar as someone who could make the step ‘up’ into a bigger league.
On top of that, Nunez truly shone in Europe. He scored goals against Barcelona and Liverpool, among others – in fact, he scored in both legs against the Reds.
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Few players are capable of scoring at such a rate. Nunez is one of them, though, and that makes him a target.
Sadio Mané is almost certainly leaving this summer and that creates quite the void in Liverpool’s squad. The Reds naturally want to fill that void and Nunez is capable.
He’s someone who can play centrally and wide, much like Mané, and has a chance of offering a similar goal-rate. He’s also a replacement of sorts to Divock Origi – a tall, physical forward who can offer something different to the rest.
And speaking of that physicality, Nunez is a tall, quick, physical striker. That makes him about as low-risk as it gets.
“Physically very powerful and with tremendous potential,” is how one former coach described him to Record. “He is an athlete of 1.90 metres and with tremendous speed.”
Liverpool know they’re getting an option in Nunez at the very, very least. He can fit into a variety of styles and will trouble defenders no matter what.
Diaz and Dias
Usually, paying an enormous amount of money for a player from the Portuguese league would be a massive risk. It’s not considered one of Europe’s best leagues and it’s quite the step up to the Premier League.
But Ruben Dias shone for Manchester City in his debut season, suggesting the jump isn’t that big. We then got an even better example of that in Luis Diaz. The Colombian arrived from FC Porto in January and immediately fit in at Liverpool.
He’s proof that forwards can transfer their skills across to England, even if it’s at a higher level. We imagine that makes the club far more confident about Nunez.
He’s not even 23 yet
Nunez doesn’t turn 23 until later this month. There’s all of this good, all of this quality and the proven record – and he might not peak for another three or four years.
Liverpool aren’t just signing a player for next season but someone who could lead their forward line for a very long time to come. The hope will be that this is beyond a five-year investment – more like seven or eight.
And if that’s true, Nunez will end up being surprisingly good value for money.