Darwin Nunez: Liverpool complete signing of £64m striker from Benfica

The Uruguayan striker becomes the second player to leave Portugal’s top flight for Anfield this year, following Luis Diaz’s arrival from Porto in January

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica, with the striker joining for a fee which could eventually be a club record £85m.

The Reds will pay the Estadio da Luz club an initial £64m, after new director of football Julian Ward negotiated a lower up-front fee than Benfica were originally asking for.

But the deal also includes add-ons worth up to an extra £21m for both appearances and the team’s success, with Benfica confirming they will receive €100m (£85.6m) if all criteria are met. The current club-record signing is Virgil van Dijk, who cost £75m from Southampton in 2018.

The move is subject to work permit and international clearance, though they should be formalities.

Nunez becomes the second signing of the summer at Anfield, following Fabio Carvalho’s arrival from Fulham.

Across all competitions, 22-year-old Nunez scored 34 goals in 2021/22 including 26 league strikes to finish as top scorer in the Primeira Liga.

“I’m really happy and delighted to be here at Liverpool. It’s a massive club,” the striker told the club’s website upon signing.

“I’ve played against Liverpool and I’ve seen them in lots of games in the Champions League, and it’s my style of play. There are some great players here and I think it’s going to suit my style of play here. As I say, I’ve watched quite a lot and it’s a very big club and I hope I can give everything that I’ve got in order to help the team.”

He will become the third Uruguayan to play for Liverpool, following centre-back Sebastian Coates and striker Luis Suarez.

Liverpool also confirmed he will take over the No27 jersey, which had most recently been Divock Origi’s.

It is expected that Nunez’s arrival may facilitate the departure of Sadio Mane, who has already been the subject of multiple bids from Bayern Munich. Liverpool are holding out for around £40m for the Senegalese attacker, who has one year left on his deal.

Fellow forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino also have only 12 months to run on their contracts, while Origi has left on a free transfer and Takumi Minamino may be allowed to depart.

Nunez scored twice against the Reds during their run to the Champions League final last season, hitting one in each leg of the quarter-final tie.

Jurgen Klopp praised him after his goal at Anfield, saying: “Extremely good-looking boy, eh? And a decent player as well. Really good, really good, you have to say: physically strong, quick, plus calm around his finish, when he finished the goal off he was really calm. If he stays healthy it’s a big career ahead of him.”

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