Darwin Nunez became the most expensive player for Liverpool after the club snapped him from Benfica at £85m for a six-year deal. After a dazzling season in the Portuguese league, where he finished as the top scorer for his club, several Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, Brighton and West Ham, expressed their desire to acquire him.
Going through the leanest patch in the 21st century, Man Utd desperately needed a striker for the next season, to reduce their reliance on a 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo. The club’s representatives approached the Benfica president Rui Costa in April, just after the Champions League quarter-final clash.
However, Costa had to cancel the meeting after getting food poisoning. Man Utd interpreted this cancellation as a possible snub, and then never arranged for another meeting.
Three months later, Liverpool broke their bank to acquire the star striker, who has scored six goals in 10 European appearances this season. Nunez too preferred the Merseyside club, stating: “I’ve played against Liverpool and I’ve seen them in lots of games in the Champions League, and it’s my style of play.”
Manchester United are yet to make a big signing this season, though rumours had it that they have already identified Frenkie de Jong as their primary target. Last season, their goal-scoring prowess took a major hit due to the indifferent form of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard. Jadon Sancho, their latest recruitee, struggled to adapt to the playing style, while Antony Martial was unimpressive throughout the season. Thus Nunez’s arrival would have been a great addition to the club.
Erik Ten Haag’s arrival at the club has been marked by a wave of optimism among the fans. But there’s a lot of ground to cover for the new manager at the club that has been left in shambles after years of mismanagement. Ten Haag, however, is confident of breaking the duopoly of Manchester United and Liverpool, provided he gets a free hand and unanimous support from both the board and players.
“Everywhere I was in my career, I have high demands on my players. I expect them to fight and give 100 per cent,” said Ten Hag. “We have to do better and they have to co-operate. They have to be unified, to form a team, and to battle the opponent.”
Featured Image Credit: EuroSport