Liverpool fans are already salivating at the prospect of watching Darwin Núñez next season.
The £76m transfer has easily been the most talked about deal of the summer, even with Erling Haaland heading to Manchester City, encouraging talk of a Battle of the Strikers deciding the title.
It’ll be much more complex than that of course, but it is interesting to see two sides who have played without conventional forwards, and done so successfully, changing tact at the same time.
Uruguayan football expert Brahian Kuchman spoke to us yesterday in a lengthy exclusive about the reaction in his homeland to the deal and today explained how Núñez will have to change tactically upon arriving at Anfield.
At Benifca, the 22-year-old liked to drift wide, but in a 4-3-3 formation, Luis Diaz plays in the channel on the left, meaning our centre-forwards usually drop deep or stay central.
“Knowing that Diaz usually plays on the left, I think Darwin will play more in the centre of attack. Or at least that will be his point of reference,” Kuchman said.
“Although, as we know that Klopp’s approach at Liverpool is very dynamic and the strikers tend to play all over the front, I can’t imagine Darwin moving only through the centre. He is a striker who can perfectly play with his back to goal, join in with the team play and play in tight spaces, although his greatest virtue is his power and speed to get forward and in space. That’s where I think Darwin makes the difference.”
Rival fans have been busily making compilations of Núñez’s apparently poor touch, in an attempt to discredit our new signing, but Kuchman reckons there is now problem.
While accepting his physical skills currently outweigh his technical ones, the journalist thinks working under Jurgen Klopp and the fact he’s so young will enable Núñez to iron out these issues, like Edinson Cavani did.
“I emphasise this once again: Darwin is in the midst of his footballing evolution and the greatest expectation of him is precisely his great qualities. It is true that, at this stage of his career, perhaps his physical condition, power and speed are more important than his technical skills, but I have no doubt that he has a lot of room to reach perfection in all aspects because he is only 22 years old,” he continued.
“It is in this particular sense that I compare him and I see him very similar to Cavani, who stood out for his athleticism over the technical side. But we know that the first requirement to succeed in today’s elite football is to have a privileged physical potential and Darwin has that condition in 10 points. I am sure Liverpool will give him the quality leap to become a complete player in all aspects.”