Today’s Fabrizio Romano column is an absolute cracker, with everything you need to know about the Darwin Nunez to Liverpool story, plus the latest transfer news regarding other big names like Gabriel Jesus and Marcus Rashford.
Liverpool leading the race for Darwin Nunez – the new Edinson Cavani?
As of today Liverpool are leading the race for Darwin Nunez, still waiting to get the deal done. The next few hours will be crucial to understand if Liverpool and Benfica will complete the deal. Liverpool are in negotiations with Darwin Nunez’s agent on a five year contract, they are confident but they are still working in these hours with Benfica to reach full agreement.
Manchester United have been in contact with his agent for a long time. Certainly Liverpool can tempt him with the Champions League but Erik ten Hag has always mentioned Nunez’s name internally.
What if the clubs miss out? It’s not really in Liverpool’s mindset to have a ‘Plan B’: they identify their target and try in every way to achieve it. I can tell you, however, that one player who they have been following for a long time is Arnaut Danjuma of Villarreal.
My impression is that Liverpool’s priority is Darwin Nunez, whereas Manchester United are in a longer rebuilding process which includes the priority of a defender, a midfielder, and then a new striker.
I think Darwin can slightly change the way Liverpool play. Certainly he is a more traditional striker than Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota. In the Liverpool scouting department they have always considered him as a similar type of centre-forward to Edinson Cavani. That’s certainly a compliment to the player, but it will be interesting to see how it might change the way Jurgen Klopp’s side play if a deal is completed.
I believe anyone who buys Nunez will find a fantastic player, with incredible killer-instinct when it comes to scoring. His record last season was excellent – 34 goals in total, including six in ten games in the Champions League. Of course, it’s a big step up from the Portuguese league to England, but the signs are there that he can make that step up, just as Luis Diaz has done since moving from Porto to Anfield in January.
A forward could also be on the way out of Liverpool
Divock Origi has already left Anfield, and he probably won’t be the last. For sure, Takumi Minamino has a very good chance of leaving Liverpool this summer.
The club is ready to listen to the proposals for Takumi. Leeds have been following him for months but Liverpool are waiting for an official proposal.
The player is ready to leave Liverpool because Jurgen Klopp will have other priorities in that position, as explained above with the interest in Nunez and Danjuma.
The Japan international’s price tag is around €18/19m. Inter Milan have shown no interest despite the rumours doing the rounds. Nothing is decided yet, but Leeds looks a more likely bet, as mentioned above.
Minamino has been a little unlucky not to establish himself at Liverpool with so much world class competition up front, and I think that kind of price means he could be a great signing for a number of Premier League clubs this summer.
Five clubs vying for Gabriel Jesus transfer
There are five clubs that have contacted Gabriel Jesus’ agents, not just Arsenal. Chelsea have had contacts in recent weeks, as have Real Madrid, but the Spanish club have not advanced in contacts.
Gabriel will leave Manchester City – 100%, and Arsenal want him at all costs as priority striker, Manchester City are asking about €50-55m for the Brazilian: in the coming days the situation will be clearer.
I’ve written before about Romelu Lukaku looking for clarity over his future, and Jesus could be a top replacement up front, though Christopher Nkunku is another player appreciated by the Blues in case this deal doesn’t work out.
I don’t expect Marcus Rashford to join Spurs; he can bounce back under Erik ten Hag
There’s been a lot written about Marcus Rashford in the last few days, and I can only tell you what my current understanding of the situation is.
So far I am not aware of a Tottenham proposal for Marcus Rashford. He is certainly a player monitored by several clubs, but there is no negotiation with Manchester United.
Also my understanding is that Rashford has not decided to leave the club and will soon speak directly with Ten Hag to understand his future, both his role in the team and also in contractual terms (he’s out of contract in June 2023 but with an option to extend for further season).
Should Marcus remain at Man United, I am sure that an intelligent and talented manager like Ten Hag can help him to be back at top level. It could be good for him to stay because I think there’s a real chance he can develop his game and improve under the new manager.
Things could change, but at the moment I’d expect a United stay is the most likely outcome for Rashford.
There was much talk about Yves Bissouma a few months ago, but it’s gone a little quiet recently, and it seems a move to Aston Villa is now not happening.
Still, his agent has had conversations with many top clubs in recent times, but so far Brighton want to wait for a sale: the price for Bissouma has always been close to €40/45m.
Arsenal have been following him for months but the priority is to understand if they can complete the Youri Tielemans deal, while Manchester United have yet to decide who will be the final priority target of the midfield. As I’ve written before, it could be more likely that they pursue Frenkie de Jong, but there are challenges with that deal.
For that kind of price, Bissouma looks like a good piece of business for many Premier League clubs, in my opinion, so let’s see what happens later in the summer.