Exclusive: Reported Liverpool target Darwin Nunez’s stunning price-tag drop from £125m release clause unveiled

Posted by

Jacque Talbot has confirmed that an asking price of £66m could ‘seal the deal’ for the signature of Benfica’s Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguayan has attracted heavy interest from the English top-flight (as noted in a tweet from the reporter) and beyond, according to a host of reports, following a superb season with the Eagles.

With Liverpool (who enjoy some alleged interest in the forward) one of the leading sides in world football and in potential need of additions to the front-three this summer, it would seem likely that the Merseysiders will be involved in the picture.

“With his new agent, Darwin Núñez will be offered to top Premier League clubs – and that undoubtedly means Liverpool will be asked to look at the striker,” the journalist exclusively told the Empire of the Kop.

“My understanding, brought to you exclusively by Empire of the Kop, is that super-agent Jorge Mendes will offer the player to the top brass of English football. And despite the £125m release clause Benfica have put to his name, I understand it will take just over half that, about £66m, to seal the deal – maybe even less.

“In this campaign, Núñez has enjoyed his breakout season in Portugal’s Primeira Liga, scoring 31 times in 36 appearances.

“The 22-year-old could not have advertised himself better to Liverpool with a stunning performance against the Reds last week during their astounding 3-1 win.

“It was a game where, in addition to his neat goal, Núñez won four aerial duels, got off two key passes, and completed four dribbles.”

With Bobby Firmino’s contract set to expire in the summer of 2023 – not to mention with the Brazilian looking, as things stand, the most likely of the Reds’ prestigious front-three to not be handed fresh terms – questions may be raised as to what cover the club could look to pursue down the line.

Early indications would appear to point to a move away from the No.9’s skillset, should the Julian Ward-led recruitment team seriously consider a bid for Nunez’s services come the end of the campaign.

“But beyond his exquisite performance and prowess in front of goal for Nélson Veríssimo’s side, would the Uruguayan fit in under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield?” Talbot added.

“At 6 ft 2 in, it would be easy to assume that Núñez is a target man, but as was evident in the Champions League on Wednesday, the striker is far from just a towering presence who can hold up the ball. Though he possesses great physicality and height, his forte is explosive runs and high positional intelligence, as well as a deadly eye for goal.

“What could really attract Klopp is Núñez’s versatility in attack. He can play out on the flanks as well, giving the option of an infield rotation when needed.

“Make no mistake, this will be a player to challenge Diogo Jota in the number nine role. It’s no secret Klopp has adapted from the ultra-high press he had utilised before, meaning another Roberto Firmino – someone like Hugo Ekitike, won’t be looked at.

“But that’s not to say Núñez doesn’t have tremendous application when off the ball. He is a grafter, with 5.15 ball recoveries per-90 this season. Indeed, similarly to Jota, the South American enjoys collecting the ball from deep and finding passes that can break the opponent’s structure, meaning he will have no qualms playing that pseudo-false-nine role either.

“He makes 6.01 carries per-90, 2.40 of which are put into the penalty area. Importantly, though, is his phenomenal 0.69 non-penalty goals per-90.

“For Benfica, Núñez plays to the right side of an attack in a 4-4-2. He is sometimes forced out to the edge of the box on the wing, where he delivers in crosses at a level of 2.40 per-90.”

READ MORE: (Video) Guardiola makes honest ‘money’ admission in response to Klopp’s ‘best coach in the world’ claim

The previously mentioned price-tag of £66m may prove a little steep for a side generally reliant on player sales to facilitate our biggest acquisitions, though it certainly brings us closer to the negotiating table than Nunez’s reported £125m release clause.

“You might argue Klopp would not gamble on a player who’s used to fulfilling a system that does not acutely align with his own, but the German is smart enough to see how Núñez would translate to his own philosophy,” the reporter told the Empire of the Kop.

“The ace up the sleeve will be that Núñez will no longer need to exert himself in wide positions when playing in the centre as part of a three: in essence, there’s a big argument to be made that Núñez would be far more effective at Anfield and working under Klopp’s blueprint.

“It was mentioned before about Núñez not being a target man, but that’s not to say he is not adequate in such a role – he can head and trap with extreme potency – it’s that he’s a well-rounded attacker.

“He’s somewhere near the style of Erling Haaland; that scary sort of player who seems to be able to deliver in every facet upfront.

“Every Premier League club will want a sniff at Núñez but could Klopp’s project at Liverpool – including the pull of Champions League football – be enough to persuade the attacker to make the move to Anfield? For my money, there’s more than half a chance.”

Should the 22-year-old genuinely be on the market come the summer transfer window, we’ll be far from the sole party involved in any talks that arise with Benfica.

That being said, the attraction of playing under one of the leading managers and outfits in world football (not to mention the lure of top European football, as Talbot previously pointed to), does hand us something of an advantage if the finances align with our alleged interest.

With there currently being a lack of cover on the right flank of our front-three, however, it will be interesting to see whether we’ll look to secure a more direct alternative to Mo Salah this summer over a more centrally-focused talent bursting with potential.

Nunez’s versatility in that regard may prove too difficult to resist but only time will tell whether our recruitment team is inclined to throw its hat into the ring.

#Ep43 of The Empire of the Kop Podcast: Should Salah be dropped v Man City? Keita contract… and more!

More Stories Darwin Nunez Jacque Talbot Liverpool