Liverpool target Darwin Nunez comes highly recommended by recruitment staff, while ex-Red and Uruguay team-mate Luis Suarez is among his admirers.
Nunez has quickly risen as the priority target for Liverpool this transfer window, the 22-year-old identified as the perfect candidate as Sadio Mane looks to move on.
The Benfica striker, who scored 34 goals in 41 games for the Portuguese club last season, is now expected to complete a summer switch to Anfield that could be worth a club-record £85 million.
It is a significant outlay, dwarfing the fees paid for Virgil van Dijk (£75m), Alisson (£65m) and Naby Keita (£52.75m), which is testament to the club’s belief in his ability and potential.
According to Goal‘s Neil Jones, Jurgen Klopp has been impressed by Nunez’s “physicality and work ethic,” while the club’s recruitment staff have highlighted his “professionalism and desire for self-improvement.”
Background work will have relied partially on the input of sporting Julian Ward, who has a strong background in Portugal, along with assistants Pepijn Lijnders and Vitor Matos.
However, Liverpool could also listen to the words of Suarez – Nunez’s compatriot – from back in October, as they prepare for a big-money transfer.
“I recommended Darwin to Barcelona when he was at Almeria,” he told Spanish journalist Gerard Romero.
“I have 15 years of international experience. I know a thing or two about forwards.
“And I told them, ‘pay attention to this one, he’s very good, he shows interesting things’.
“They told me he was at Almeria and that he was too young.
“But instead of paying now €80 million, €90m or €100m, they would’ve paid €15m or €20m and had him there as a substitute.”
Nunez only spent one year with Almeria, having left boyhood club Penarol for the Spanish Segunda Division in 2019 in a deal worth around £4.8 million, scoring 16 goals in 32 games for the Andalusian club.
That earned his switch to Benfica, giving him the platform to impress the likes of Liverpool – and, in turn, potentially earn another big payday for Almeria, who are obliged 20 percent of any profit.
If Liverpool are to spend £85 million on Nunez, then, Benfica would be required to pay around £12.9 million to the Spanish side, having signed him for £20.5 million two years ago.