A revelation for the Benfica Eagles this season, Uruguayan international Darwin Nunez is eagerly courted by Liverpool, a club that saw him spread his wings in the Champions League. His arrival at the Reds now seems to be only a matter of hours and will be against a very large check.
Darwin Nunez will soon celebrate his 23rd birthday on June 26th. Maybe in the shoes of a Liverpool player. Sadio Mané has not yet left the Reds, but his replacement has been found. Darwin Nunez landed in Lisbon in 2020 with the label of the most expensive player in the history of Benfica (24 million euros). What it could become on the banks of the Mersey if ever the figures circulating in the Portuguese press prove to be correct. Liverpool could pay 80 million euros (with 20 million in bonuses), more than the sum spent to attract Virgil van Dijk at the time (75 million), the club record in terms of transfer. Darwin Nunez would thus go from the Almeria club (in the second division) to the European gratin in barely two years. Quite a flight for this player trained in Peñarol.
Van Dijk and Klopp under the spell
After a mixed first year in Portugal, the Uruguayan international striker has exploded this season. In total, Nunez has signed 47 goals and 16 assists in 84 matches in the red jersey of the Eagles, 34 goals in 41 matches this season, in all competitions. He especially burst the screen in the Champions League, finding the net against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and especially twice against Liverpool, despite the elimination in the quarter-finals of the C1. Ruthless against the greatest, Darwin Nunez finished seducing Jürgen Klopp, full of admiration after the double confrontation.
The German technician had not missed the opportunity to salute the performance of a “very handsome boy and a good player too”. “Really good, really good, had assessed Klopp, under the spell. I knew it before, but he played against me this time. Physically strong, fast, very calm in the finish. Really good. If he stays in good health, it’s a great career that awaits him.”
Virgil Van Dijk had also made it known how much he appreciated the striker, going so far as to name him among the five toughest opponents he faced, along with Sergio Agüero, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland. Just that.
The future of the Reds in attack
But if there is an attacker to whom he comes close in terms of characteristics, it is indeed former Parisian Edinson Cavani with whom the affiliation is more than obvious. Powerful, athletic, fast and capable of repeating efforts without respite, the Uruguayan international is formidable in the penalty area from the height of his 1.87m. With the right foot most often, but also with the left, with the head as well, whatever his position in the box, Nunez has shown that he is capable of scoring in different ways. His game perfectly suits that of Liverpool.
Mohamed Salah, who turns 30 on Wednesday, has said he will stay at Liverpool next season. But the absence of an extension for the Egyptian, under contract until 2023, like Roberto Firmino, added to Sadio Mané’s departure prospects make this recruitment even more crucial in the renewal process undertaken by Klopp. Together with Diogo Jota and Luis Díaz, both 25, Darwin Núñez represents the future of the Reds.