How Liverpool somehow plan to sign £85m Nunez and sell £42m Mane for ‘very little money, net’

Some might consider £85m and £42m to be considerably different transfer fees, but through a Liverpool prism that is ‘very little money, net’.

Part exchange
There is, mercifully, less talk of a ‘bidding war’ between Liverpool and Manchester United over Darwin Nunez on Friday morning. The pretence that any player might deliberate over that decision for longer than a millisecond has been almost entirely dropped. He is off to Anfield.

The next job is for chief Merseyside cheerleader David Maddock to paint it as a transfer masterclass in the Daily Mirror. He glosses over comparisons between this deal and Manchester City signing Erling Haaland by stating the Norwegian will ‘disrupt’ the ‘system’ under Pep Guardiola. Nunez, on the other hand, is a more fluid fit.

The Premier League champions have clearly f**ked up here by signing the best young centre-forward in the world. So disruptive to put a clinical goalscorer into a team which creates an arseload of chances every game.

But Maddock is not done. Next is the fee. And how does one make a probable club-record transfer actually sound cheap? Well…

‘Klopp is hoping to essentially exchange Senegal forward Mane for Nunez for very little money, net.’

Klopp can hope all he wants but something does not even vaguely add up there. And Maddock does not mention Takumi Minamino or any other players who might be sold to raise funds. His wording makes it clear: Liverpool want to swap Nunez for Mane at similar costs.

As Sam Wallace of the Daily Telegraph writes:

‘Liverpool expect Bayern Munich to meet their valuation of more than £40million for Sadio Mane which will then supply the funds to sign his proposed successor, Darwin Nunez, from Benfica for around £60m with additional extras that would get him close to their record signing. The expectation is that Nunez will be available for around £60m and a further £15m to £20m in additional payments dependent on performance.’

And as the Daily Mail‘s Simon Jones corroborates:

‘Liverpool expect Bayern Munich to make a third bid to meet their valuation of around £42m for Sadio Mane. The fee would trigger their own £68m plus £17m in add-ons bid for Benfica’s Darwin Nunez.’

So that’s Liverpool signing Nunez for around £85m total and selling Mane for £42m. An overall outlay of £43m. Or, in the eyes of Maddock, an ‘exchange’ for ‘very little money, net’.

Record breaking
‘A 30-year-old wide player with a good scoring record, replaced by a 22-year-old with a better one,’ is also a fairly curious Maddock line.

Nunez did score 34 goals in 41 appearances for Benfica this past season, but the only other full top-flight campaign of his career saw a return of 14 goals in 44 games. Mane has beaten that tally in each of his last five seasons. He has at least 20 goals in four of his last five campaigns. That is better than a ‘good scoring record’. It’s consistent excellence that a fellow player needs to beat more than once for their form to be definitively declared as ‘better’.

Portugal. The Man
Over in The Sun are these two separate lines from Ken Lawrence on the Nunez deal:

‘Kop owners FSG accept they may end up spending more than the £75m club-record fee paid for Virgil van Dijk – but hope to strike a compromise that keeps the total cost to £80m at most for the Manchester United target.’

‘Nunez, who scored a goal in each of last season’s Champions League quarter final ties against Liverpool, is about to become Portugal’s most expensive export.’

Both things cannot be true. He is not even about to become Benfica’s most expensive export, unless everyone agrees to ignore the £113m Atletico Madrid spent on Joao Felix in July 2019.

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Pound Sterling
‘CHELSEA want Raheem Sterling – but they need to prove they will match his ambitions,’ begins a Sun transfer exclusive penned in partnership by Andrew Dillon and Martin Blackburn.

Simple as that. The bloke ‘is eager to still be competing for trophies’ if he decides to leave Manchester City.

‘But demands for a regular first team spot is the biggest driver of any negotiations.’

Even though ‘ambitions’ are mentioned in the first paragraph and silverware is explicitly referenced similarly early? Fair enough.

Reece’s pieces
The bad news keeps coming for Chelsea, whose confusing negotiations with Sterling might still take precedence over securing the long-term future of Reece James.

There is an exclusive on the right-back in the Daily Mail as Sami Mokbel painstakingly outlines how Chelsea are ‘reluctant to tie James down to a longer term deal’.

The headline lays it on thick, too: ‘Manchester City and Real Madrid on alert with Chelsea yet to approach Reece James about extending his contract despite becoming a key member of Thomas Tuchel’s squad’

Panic stations. Rivals are on ‘alert’. James is off. And then you reach this line:

‘James, who earns in the region of £70,000 per week, has three years left to run on his current contract, which Chelsea feel negates the need for urgency to make any moves on a new deal.’

Mediawatch tends to agree with Chelsea, who might not be fretting about James leaving just yet when he is contracted to them until at least summer 2025. Of course they’re ‘yet to approach him,’ for crying out loud. Come back in a couple of years if nothing changes. And turn off that ‘alarm’ to save battery in the meantime.

Ziz-who?
‘David Beckham snubs Man Utd team-mates as he names best player he’s ever played with’ – Daily Mirror website.

The Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘snub’ is: ‘an action or a comment that is deliberately rude in order to show somebody that you do not like or respect them’. David Beckham picking the actual Zinedine Zidane as his greatest teammate doesn’t really fit that bill.

You got EMAIL
The Richard Moriarty exclusive on Manchester United in The Sun is fine – pretty standard stuff on a new manager underlining his authority/’laying down law to remind flops football a team game and he will not tolerate egos’. Either or.

But it is very funny to see the word ‘EMAIL’, Erik ten Hag’s chosen method of sending this message, in block headline capitals.

And then to the third paragraph, where the Dutchman ‘has already made his crackdown clear by ‘EMAIL‘. Their emboldened block capitals, not ours. Their astonishment at a quite normal and established line of communication being used, not ours.

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