Klopp pushed to sign £140k-p/w beast when Liverpool chiefs wanted £52m ex-teammate of Szoboszlai

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Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool’s recruitment team appeared to disagree over a significant transfer decision which was taken two years ago.

In the summer of 2022, the Reds signed Darwin Nunez from Benfica for an initial £64m, with the manager having pushed to bring in the Uruguayan despite some key figures at the club preferring Christopher Nkunku, who’d sign for Chelsea from RB Leipzig for £52m a year later.

According to Paul Joyce for The Times‘Nunez was very much a Klopp signing (Liverpool’s recruitment thinktank preferred Christopher Nkunku, then of RB Leipzig, who has spent this season injured at Chelsea) and the manager spoke about how it is his responsibility to provide the player with the confidence to perform.’

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Since that sliding doors moment, Nunez has gone on to score 33 times in 92 appearances for Liverpool – by no means a bad tally, although it’s one which ought to be substantially higher when considering some of the glaring misses that he’s had in that time.

In the same timeframe, Nkunku – a former teammate of Dominik Szoboszlai at Leipzig until they both departed last summer – has netted 25 goals in 46 games, a notably better strike rate than the £140,000-per-week Uruguayan.

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However, the France international has had a horrendous first few months at Chelsea, suffering two lengthy injuries which have thus far restricted him to a mere 10 outings. Nunez can be aggravating to watch at times, but at least he’s very reliable in terms of availability to Liverpool, having missed only four matches all season.

Therefore, despite the 24-year-old’s loss of form during the business end of the campaign, he’s still proven to be more dependable than Nkunku and has justified Klopp’s decision to opt for him over the Frenchman.

Hopefully our next manager (most likely Arne Slot) will have the same shrewd eye when such transfer dilemmas arise, even if Michael Edwards is set to have a much greater say on recruitment from this summer onward.

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