Liverpool fans are currently relishing the opportunity to see their latest stellar signing in action, following the addition of Darwin Nunez to an already star-studded attacking unit.
But what makes this move all the more interesting are comments from a former Kop icon, given that fellow Uruguayan compatriot Luis Suárez already backed his talents.
Just after Benfica had officially confirmed the 22-year-old would be heading to Anfield, intriguing reports emerged in Spanish media outlet Sport, revealing that Barcelona had actually spurned an earlier opportunity to sign the player.
The Catalan club had scouted the striker in his home country while playing for Penarol, then continued to do so following his move to Spanish side UD Almeria in 2019, who were playing in the second tier at the time.
During a podcast interview cited by Sport from October 2021, the reason Barcelona ignored Suarez and did not sign his international teammate was highlighted by the legendary former Liverpool star.
“I have 15 years of experience and I know something about strikers, but they told me he was very young and was at Almería,” the striker said.
At that time, Nunez had just turned 20 and was already demonstrating his keen eye for goals.
Missed opportunity for Barcelona
Suarez claims that he was consulted by the technical department at Barcelona.
“Look at him, look after him, he’s very good, I see interesting things in him,” was the advice provided, urging the club to seriously regard the forward as his own long-term replacement.
Not long afterwards, the ex-Ajax star’s move to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid proved to be a key ingredient in the side managed by Diego Simeone, spearheading their charge to the 2020-21 title.
Meanwhile, there was no hesitation from Benfica, who were sufficiently impressed by Nunez and his tally of 16 goals in 30 for Almeria.
The Portuguese club paid €39 million and he proved to be an astute signing, scoring 49 goals in 85 appearances over two seasons.
— TURKI ALALSHIKH (@Turki_alalshikh) June 10, 2022
“They could have signed him for 15-20 million (Euros) to be my replacement, and now they will have to pay 80, 90, or 100 million for him,” said Suarez of the missed opportunity for Barcelona.
They were reportedly amongst the possible destinations being rumoured in recent months, regardless of being in a complicated economic situation.
In the end, Liverpool won the race for Nunez, landing the striker for €75 million plus €25 million in add-ons.
Amusingly, there was just as much excitement about the move from Turki Al-Sheikh, the Saudi owner of Almeria.
According to American finance publication Forbes, recently promoted Almeria could receive a game-changing $46 million from the transfer of the Uruguayan international.
When the Andalusian club sold the promising striker to Benfica, they astutely inserted an additional clause worth 20% from any future sale, meaning they will now benefit from a sizeable windfall thanks to his move to Liverpool.
Fans eager to see Premier League attacking duel
This has undoubtedly been a massive transfer window already for the Premier League, starting with a bang when Erling Haaland joined Manchester City, swiftly followed by the arrival of Darwin Nunez at Liverpool.
Inevitably, this has already led to supporters of both clubs wondering how both high-profile strikers will fare in England.
Comparing the odds for both strikers at leading bookmakers is certainly worthwhile, using the latest guide to the online best betting sites via Arabian Betting as the ideal starting point, who focus on safe and secure wagering options throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Just looking at the early numbers, Liverpool’s latest summer signing appears to offer the best value, priced at anywhere between 14/1 and 16/1 odds to top the 2022-23 Premier League scoring charts.
Inevitably, given his astonishing scoring record of 86 goals from 89 appearances in all competitions at Borussia Dortmund, practically every bookie is tipping Haaland as the 7/2 favourite, slightly ahead of Anfield icon Mohamed Salah valued at 9/2 odds. Whoever gets off to the best start heading into the new season, fans of the Reds and City will be delighted to see their new stars in action, set for a thrilling duel as these two clubs battle for the title.