Liverpool signing Darwin Nunez may prove better than Man City’s Erling Haaland deal for three reasons

Liverpool have now officially announced the arrival of Darwin Nunez.

It’s an announcement that Liverpool fans have been eagerly anticipating.

It’s been a case of when, and not if, Darwin Nunez will become the Reds’ latest arrival.

Sign up to our LiverpoolWorld Today newsletter

Now the Uruguay international has finally been unveiled. He’s the latest member to join Jurgen Klopp’s side and has signed a deal until the summer of 2028.

Interest in the Benfica striker accelerated swiftly after it became clear Sadio Mane was likely to depart this summer.

And while Liverpool may not have sorted a replacement so quickly in years gone by, perhaps they felt required to do so to match Manchester City flexing their muscle.

Many believe the signing of Erling Haaland will see City further tighten their grip on the Premier League title.

Indeed, their attacking options have markedly improved as they aim for a third successive crown.

Erling Haaland has departed Borussia Dortmund for Man City. Picture: Lars Baron/Getty Images

But just a day after Haaland was unveiled at the Etihad Stadium for £51 million from Borussia Dortmund, the Reds have strengthened up top.

Nunez joins Liverpool for an initial fee of £64 million - and could become a club-record sum of £85 million with add-ons.

The debate between Kopites and Cityzens will now no doubt rage about which team has got the better deal.

They’re both a similar age after all and both enjoyed prolific 2021-22 seasons. Haaland, aged 21, netted 29 goals while the 22-year-old Nunez scored 34 times.

In truth, if you asked the neutral, most would say Haaland will prove best.

He’s the blue-eyed boy of European football, having long been tipped for greatness.

Fees analysed

Benfica forward Darwin Nunez. Picture: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

However, Jurgen Klopp will be delighted that he’s captured Nunez.

Granted, the initial transfer fee is more than the £51 million City have paid for Haaland by meeting his Borussia Dortmund release clause.

However, the Norway international will reportedly earn £375,000-per-week - which works out at £19.5 million a year.

Nunez, on the other hand, will supposedly net around £140,000-a-week at Anfield. That adds up to £7.3 million per year.

Over the coming years, Haaland will prove the more expensive.

Certainly, both clubs will be hoping they’ll get full bang for their buck.

Injury records

But when it was confirmed Haaland was joining Pep Guardiola’s side last month, Klopp - amid extolling the capture - did issue one slight warning.

“He was injured a couple of times at Dortmund but he’s a real beast,” said the Liverpool boss.

“Unfortunately, a really good signing.”

Erling Haaland had his share of injury problems at Borussia Dortmund. Picture: Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images

Indeed, for the world-class striker that Haaland is, there are some concerns about his fitness.

The ex-Red Bull Salzburg forward spent three periods on the treatment table last term.

He missed 10 Bundesliga games due to hip flexor injury and muscular problems, with Dortmund finishing second and eight points behind Bayern Munich.

What’s more, he was absent for both legs of Die Schwarzgelben’s Europa League last-32 loss to Rangers in February. His absence was indeed felt.

The previous campaign, Haaland could not feature in 10 games and had four separate periods of unavailability.

Nunez, on the other hand, missed six of Benfica’s league games in 2021-22.

Yet two of them were at the beginning of the season after he underwent knee surgery in the summer.

In addition, two matches took place while Nunez was on international duty with Uruguay, one was for suspension and the other was the final-day defeat of Pacos Ferreira when wholesale changes were made for the dead rubber.

Nunez would play 41 games for the Eagles in all competitions, having racked up 44 matches the previous year.

Versatility

Darwin Nunez in action for Benfica against Liverpool. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

In addition, the scope of Nunez fitting into Klopp’s front three is also highly beneficial.

Granted, City have been craving an out-and-out marksman since the exit of Sergio Aguero and missing out on Harry Kane 12 months ago.

But Liverpool’s attacking triumvirate is about flexibility. With Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino also central options, it gives Klopp the option to shift Nunez out wide when required.

On 20 occasions, he played on the flank in 2020-21 for Benfica - primarily on the left-hand side.

That, of course, is where Mane operated for a large part of his Liverpool career.

In addition, when Mane was moved to spearhead the Reds’ attack after he returned from the African Cup of Nations in February, Jota suffered.

The Portuguese failed to score his final 13 appearances of the season, having plundered 21 goals in his previous 42 games.

While many Kopites would concur that, at this moment, the front three of Nunez, Mo Salah and Luis Diaz is likely to start the opening day of the 2022-23 season, rotation will be required.

Having the adaptability to hand Jota opportunities through the middle will be important.

The true acid test will be when the campaign begins in earnest.

Yet Klopp won’t be grumbling. Klopp will be quietly confident Nunez has the desired impact.