LISBON: Liverpool have reached a deal with Benfica to buy the Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez for an initial 75 million euros (64 million), the Portuguese club said on Monday.

The transfer could eventually rise to 100 million euros, Benfica said in a statement, eclipsing Liverpool’s club-record 75 million paid to Southampton for Dutch centre-back Virgil van Dijk in 2018.

Nunez scored 26 goals in 28 league appearances last season in Portugal.

The 22-year-old, who was left out of Uruguay’s squad for Saturday’s 5-0 friendly victory over Panama, was expected to begin a medical on Monday which could take two days to complete.

Personal terms are not anticipated to be a problem, with the player having expressed his desire to play for Reds manager Jurgen Klopp despite interest from Manchester United.

Nunez is set to sign a reported six-year contract with Premier League and Champions League runners-up Liverpool, who have been in talks with Benfica for several weeks.

He netted in both legs of Benfica’s Champions League quarter-final defeat against Liverpool in April, earning praise from Klopp.

His ability to play out wide and through the middle would make him the ideal replacement for Sadio Mane after Bayern Munich stepped up their pursuit of the Senegal forward.

Liverpool have rejected two offers from the Bundesliga champions and are holding out for a fee in excess of 40 million for Mane, who has one year left on his contract.

Liverpool finished the 2021-22 season with the FA Cup and League Cup but came second in the league and lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Benfica purchased Nunez from Almeria in the summer of 2020 for 24 million euros and British media have said the Spanish club is set to receive 20% of any profit from his transfer.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2022

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