Diogo Jota must be a little frustrated at Liverpool’s plan to sign Darwin Nunez. It’s actually a little unfair on the forward.
Liverpool plan to sign Darwin Nunez – that much seems clear. The Athletic are among those saying that the Reds agreed on personal terms with the Uruguayan ahead of a transfer.
And what a transfer it could be. Benfica want around £85m for their star player, making this potentially a club-record deal for Liverpool.
It’s one that’s arguably necessary, too. Sadio Mané looks almost certain to leave for Bayern Munich this summer as he enters the final year of his contract. Mohamed Salah’s future isn’t much clearer – he’ll be around for next season but no one’s quite sure beyond that.
And then there’s Roberto Firmino. It feels just as likely that he’s around in three years’ time as it is that he leaves before the season kicks off. The Brazilian is in the final year of his deal, too, after all.
But there is one player at Anfield who definitely isn’t leaving. Diogo Jota looks set to be a part of Liverpool for some time and that’s exactly why he might feel some frustration with Darwin Nunez’s possible arrival.
Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez
Jota is, quite plainly, a brilliant forward. He arrived in 2020 and hit the ground running, with last season being a simply fantastic one. Jurgen Klopp even called him a ‘perfect signing’ for how good he’s been.
The Portugal striker scored 21 goals in all competitions and finished as one of the Premier League’s top scorers. His record as a centre-forward was better than one-in-two – we’re talking about an elite player.
And so the feeling was that Jota would take over as one of the stars – maybe the star – once the older forwards leave. Only, that’s now up in the air.
Nunez is set to arrive, of course, and the fee suggests he’ll be Liverpool’s primary centre-forward. Jota could simply move over to the left-flank but Luis Diaz arrived in January and has locked that position down.
None of the trio are particularly effective on the right, either – and Salah will play there next season, certainly. So what is the plan for Jota? He already saw his minutes limited quite drastically once Diaz arrived. Nunez will keep them limited even after Mané’s departure.
While this is partly the result of playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs, it does feel like Jota is set to miss out on his big opportunity. There will be many games to go around, of course, but the 25-year-old won’t quite get his shot at being one of the main men just yet.
He’ll have to fight for it all over again.