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Darwin Nunez: Liverpool agree £85m transfer for Uruguay striker with Benfica

Benfica, who announced the deal in the early hours of Monday morning, say Liverpool will pay an initial €75m (£64m); the transfer is subject to the 22-year-old Uruguay international agreeing personal terms; Nunez scored 34 times for Benfica last season in all competitions

Nunez

Liverpool have reached an agreement for the transfer of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez in a deal worth up to €100m​​​​​​​ (£85m).

The Portuguese club, who announced the deal in the early hours of Monday morning, say Liverpool will pay an initial €75m (£64m), with add-ons amounting to €25m.

Benfica's statement read: "In the early morning hours of this Monday (0:44 am), Sport Lisboa e Benfica - Futebol, SAD informed the Securities Market Commission (CMVM) that it had reached an agreement with Liverpool FC for the sale of all rights to the player Darwin Nuñez, for the amount of 75 million euros.

"To the CMVM, Benfica's SAD also informed that 'the agreement provides for the payment of a variable remuneration, so the global amount of the sale could reach the amount of 100 million euros'.

"'It is further informed that the aforementioned agreement is dependent on the signing of the player's sports employment contract with Liverpool FC', it is further explained in the official document."

Once this deal goes through, it will break Liverpool's previous transfer record, which was the £75m purchase of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January 2018.

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England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane says Manchester City's signing of Erling Haaland and the imminent addition of Darwin Nunez to Liverpool will help him to improve as he competes for the Premier League Golden Boot.

Liverpool's top five most expensive signings

  • Darwin Nunez from Benfica in 2022 - £85m
  • Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in 2018 - £75m
  • Alisson from Roma in 2018 - £67m
  • Naby Keita from RB Leipzig in 2018 - £52.75m
  • Luis Diaz from Porto in 2022 - £49m

The transfer is subject to the 22-year-old Uruguay international agreeing personal terms with Liverpool and completing a medical, which is expected to take place on Monday.

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Nunez, who was also of interest to Manchester United, wants to move to Liverpool and is ready to sign a five-year contract.

Liverpool's director of football, Julian Ward, was in Portugal to get the transfer over the line as he negotiated the structure of the deal.

Nunez scored 34 times for Benfica last season in all competitions, including goals in both legs of the club's Champions League quarter-final defeat to Liverpool in April.

Darwin Nunez

Liverpool were not prepared to enter a bidding war for their number one transfer target, despite doubts over the futures of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, and moved quickly to beat their rivals to the signing.

Mane is wanted by German champions Bayern Munich after the Senegal forward refused to commit to Liverpool beyond next season.

Star man: Darwin Nunez
Image: Nunez scored in both legs of Benfica's Champions League quarter final with Liverpool

Salah also has one year left on his Liverpool contract but announced before last month's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid that he will be staying on Merseyside for at least one more season.

The view from Portugal: how good is Darwin Nunez?

Nunez

Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda speaking on Sky Sports News:

"Darwin Nunez was one of the best players this season in the Portuguese league by far. The other one was Luis Diaz who moved to Liverpool in January and that made Nunez the absolute best player.

"Benfica finished the season in third place and failed to get a direct spot in the Champions League but in 41 games, Nunez scored 34 goals and registered four assists - so you're talking about one of the best strikers.

"He's a 'modern football striker' - like Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe - strikers who don't just focus on scoring goals. They focus on playing for the team and making the whole team play well. That's why we're talking about €100m.

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Sky Sports' Vinny O'Connor has reports on the progress of Benfica striker Darwin Nunez's move to Liverpool after the two sides agreed a fee of around €75 million.

"The biggest defect - or the less good point - about Nunez is his psychological game. In the 2020/21 season, he was not scoring many goals. He played 44 matches and only scored 14. He was criticised by the fans a little bit and the first thing he did was start suspending his social media, blocking people and not reading the comments. This proves he doesn't deal well with critics when things start not going well. And in England, the price tag is the first thing people will talk about when he doesn't start scoring goals.

"When you talk about a player like Darwin Nunez, you think about a typical number nine that plays inside the penalty area. But he can easily play out wide to break spaces for other players in the central areas if teams need him. It's a very good deal for Liverpool, who already used the Portuguese league with Luis Diaz in a massive transfer for Liverpool which the winger completely deserved.

"In Jurgen Klopp's hands, Darwin can be of the top strikers in the world. Nowadays, he's not one of the top strikers because he doesn't play in the top five leagues. We have to see how he develops in the Premier League, which is one of the best leagues in the world."

What does Nunez need to do for deal to reach €100m?

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Sky Sports News reporter Mark McAdam offers more background on Liverpool's £85 million signing from Benfica, Darwin Nunez, who former team-mate Adel Taarabt described as 'a mixture of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez'.

When Nunez joined Benfica from Almeria for €24m, he became the most expensive player to ever leave La Liga 2 and also the most expensive signing in Benfica's history.

The Spaniards are receiving 20 per cent of any transfer profit above £20m meaning they will be due a cut of £8.8m from the initial £64m fee Liverpool are paying.

Portuguese football expert Pedro Sepulveda:

"Manchester United's offer was bigger than Liverpool's, but the project under Jurgen Klopp - playing Champions League football - was very decisive. We're talking about a big transfer that's a record for Liverpool but we're talking about someone who has got a lot of potential.

"He could one day be the best striker in the world. He scores goals but he has always been someone who makes the team better. If you look at Darwin Nunez's games with Benfica, he plays inside the area but when he has been deployed on the wings, he is perfectly capable of playing there too.

"Benfica are happy with the fee as it's one that could reach €100m. €75m is fixed with €25m based on add-ons.

"The first €5m is easy to achieve based on the number of games, €10m depends on the titles the player wins at Liverpool and the number of goals he will score. The last €10m is more difficult, and is based on Liverpool winning the Champions League and the Premier League in the same season."

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