Liverpool warned not to pay over £50m for Darwin Nunez as striker faces ‘big step up’

Premier League transfer news and rumours

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Liverpool have been advised against spending more than £50million on Benfica striker Darwin Nunez as they seek a possible replacement for Sadio Mane. Jurgen Klopp’s side have been linked with Nunez in a deal that could break the Reds’ transfer record, but club icon Steve Nicol has warned them not to splash out too much on the Uruguayan.

When asked by ESPN FC if he would like to see Liverpool bid for Nunez, the former Liverpool defender replied: “Yeah, but not £100million. Every single thing he does is perfect for Liverpool, the way he chases people down, the way he runs in behind.

“He is a workhorse and I am not talking about his ability, because you can see he scores goals and he can hold the ball up.

“Absolutely I would love him at Liverpool but I think he is another £50million, what they paid for [Mohamed] Salah and Mane and [Roberto] Firmino, I think he is in that sort of range for me.

“It’s a big step up, he is not £100million. Maybe you do half of it with add-ons but I would like to see him at Liverpool.”

The striker, who scored 34 goals in 41 games for Benfica last season, has become one of the most sought-after players in Europe and is strongly linked with both Liverpool and Manchester United. Klopp’s team have reportedly offered £69million up front with £17million in add-ons, a fee that Nicol believes is too much as they look to replace an outgoing Mane.

The Senegalese star has just a year left on his contract at Anfield and Bayern Munich have been interested in the 30-year-old, but Liverpool have rejected their advances for Mane so far. They will be preparing for the prospect of Mane and Mohamed Salah leaving however, as both see their contracts expire in 2023.

Liverpool’s offer for Nunez, which could reach £86million, would break their transfer record and eclipse the £75million spent on Virgil van Dijk in 2018, something that Tony Cascarino predicted would happen this summer. However Benfica are said to be negotiating the Reds’ offer, and will look to make a small change to the overall package for Nunez.

The forward faced Liverpool twice in the Champions League last season and scored in both games as the Portuguese side were knocked out by Nunez’s potential next club in the quarter-finals. Liverpool forward Diogo Jota was asked about the prospect of Nunez joining the attacking contingent when he was on international duty.

“I don’t know, I’m focused on the national team,” the 25-year-old admitted. “The market will move, I have no idea what the signings could be. I had the opportunity to play against him and he’s a good player, but I can’t say anything else at the moment.”

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