Liverpool have pulled out of the race to sign Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, leaving Manchester United and Newcastle United as the two clubs battling for his signature.
Darwin is one of the hottest properties on this summer’s transfer market after a superb season that saw him bag 34 goals in 41 games for the Lisbon side.
The Anfield club, who could be set to lose Sadio Mané this summer, were recently reported to have joined United in pursuit of the Uruguay international.
With the battle hotting up, it was reported last week that United had lodged an offer worth €105 million (£90m) for the Uruguayan, made up of €75m cash in installments, €20m in bonuses plus a player exchange worth €10m.
Benfica were reported to have rejected the deal, wanting more cash up front.
Yesterday Correio de Manha stated that Benfica are holding out for “at least 100 million euros or, at least, an initial payment close to that amount plus another installment in easily executed goals (number of games, number of goals, etc.)”
This, according to The Liverpool Echo, is too rich for Jurgen Klopp’s blood.
“While a player greatly admired by Klopp and the recruitment team, the reported price tag of £85m is simply too expensive,” the outlet claims.
“Manchester United and Newcastle United, thought to both be considering a move for the 22-year-old, can afford to pay over the odds for the forward.
“Liverpool will not, sticking to the principles that have served them so well in the transfer market under Klopp and Fenway Sports Group.”
Despite a contradictory report from Record in Portugal claiming that Liverpool have met Benfica’s asking price, reputable Uruguayan journalist Sebas Giovanelli has corroborated the story, tweeting “@ManUtd and @NUFC are bidding for Darwin #Núñez and are the teams that are closest to signing the attacker at this time.”
— Sebas Giovanelli (@SebasGiovanelli) June 7, 2022
Correio de Manhã have also mentioned Atletico Madrid as prospective suitors but there is little activity on that front in the Spanish press.
If it is to come down to a straight fight between United and Newcastle, the Red Devils must be favourites to land the exciting 22-year-old, given their ability to offer European football, the chance to join Erik ten Hag’s project and due to the greater history and status of the club.