Darwin Nunez’s £85million move to Liverpool took a step closer as he was spotted being driven into their training ground on Tuesday morning.
Nunez is on the cusp of becoming the Reds’ club record signing in a deal that will rise to £85million for the Benfica striker.
Eagle-eyed cameras caught Nunez being driven into Liverpool’s AXA Training Centre shortly before 10am, with the Reds expected to unveil their new signing later on Tuesday.
Darwin Nunez has been pictured being driven into Liverpool’s training ground on Tuesday
Liverpool have smashed their transfer record after sealing the £85m signing of striker Nunez
Nunez is a hot prospect in Europe and was seen at Liverpool’s training ground on Tuesday
The 22-year-old Uruguay international joins an extremely talented attack under Jurgen Klopp
Twenty-two-year-old Uruguay international Nunez is joining the Reds in a deal which includes a £64m fee up front with add-ons taking the deal to £85m.
The overall package therefore surpasses the £75m figure Liverpool paid to Southampton for Virgil van Dijk ahead of the 2018 January transfer window.
Sportsmail reported that Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward had been in Lisbon over the weekend to help close the deal.
Nunez represents another quality addition to an attacking line already filled with talent, having scored 34 goals in 41 matches across all competitions for the Portuguese giants last season.
Manchester United have been admirers of Nunez but Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that they pulled out of the race after deciding against being held to a bidding war with Liverpool.
United were invited into a bidding auction by the player’s agents but declined to engage – therefore making the club not an option for the player.
Man United avoided facing a bidding war for Liverpool-bound Nunez, Sportsmail revealed
Portuguese giants Benfica released a statement confirming £64m fee which may rise to £85m
United were in the running for the Uruguayan striker too but withdrew interest after deeming the asking price too high, rather than being rejected by the 22-year-old.
Benfica had earlier revealed Nunez was heading to Anfield before official confirmation came out of Merseyside on Tuesday.
In a statement, Benfica said: ‘SAD informs the Securities Market Commission (CMVM), under the terms and for the purpose in article 248-A, that it has reached an agreement with Liverpool FC for the transfer of all rights to the player Darwin Nunez for the amount of €75million.
‘The agreement includes add-ons, so the total amount of the sale could reach €100m.
‘It also informs that said agreement is dependent on the conclusion of contract of the player with Liverpool FC.’
The Uruguayan – who idolises former Reds striker and international team-mate Luis Suarez – netted six goals in last season’s Champions League, including two at the quarter-finals stage against Jurgen Klopp’s men and left an impression.
The figure paid for Nunez (right) surpasses the £75m the Reds paid for Virgil van Dijk (left)
He now looks set to play in between Luis Diaz (back) and Mohamed Salah (front) at Anfield
The German boss was impressed by what he saw and could now deploy the forward – who can play on the left of an attacking three as well as through the middle – in between January recruit Luis Diaz and star man Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool have a good relationship with Nunez’s agents Gestifute – who also represent Fabinho, Diogo Jota and Fabio Carvalho at Anfield – and are impressed with the improvement Klopp has brought from their clients.
Liverpool’s manager said in April of Nunez: ‘A good looking boy, huh? And a decent player as well! Really good, really good. I knew before, of course, but he played pretty much in front of me with his tough battles with Ibrahima Konate.
‘He was physically strong, quick, was calm around his finish. Good, really good. I always say in these situations if he is healthy, it’s a big career ahead of him.’
He started his career at Penarol in Uruguay, before moving to Almeria – who will receive 20 per cent of the fee Benfica collect – in 2019. But just a year later he signed a five-year deal at Benfica, where he scored 48 goals in 85 games.
The move appears to have pushed Bayern Munich target Sadio Mane closer to the Anfield exit
The move is expected to push Sadio Mane closer to the Anfield exit, with Bayern Munich keen on signing the Senegal international.
The 30-year-old was the subject of a second bid from the Bundesliga champions earlier this month, but Anfield chiefs dismissed the £30m offer out of hand, feeling that the offer was derisory.
Bayern raised their initial bid from £21.5m to £23.5m, with the other £6.5m only coming in full if Mane won three Champions League crowns at the Allianz Arena in addition to as many Ballon d’Ors.
The German champions are trying to get £43m from Barcelona for Robert Lewandowski and Liverpool believe that figure is reflective of Mane’s worth.