Reds fans were worried when Mane, 30, reportedly told his teammates he wanted to embark on a new challenge next season, with Bayern in pole position for his services. The Senegal international, who has scored 120 goals in 269 club games since joining Liverpool in June 2016, has just one year left on his existing deal.
Yet it appears Jurgen Klopp’s side have found a replacement. Nunez, 22, enjoyed a stunning 2021-22 term at Benfica, scoring 34 goals and providing four assists in 41 outings. Two of those goals came against Liverpool in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Nunez has agreed a six-year deal with Liverpool. It’s believed the player is currently in Spain with his agent and will fly to Merseyside once the two clubs have finalised the deal, which could be as early as Monday.
The Reds are expected to pay €80million (around £68.3m) for Nunez, with a further €20m (around £17.1m) in add-ons included in the deal. That could make him Liverpool’s record signing, surpassing the £75m they spent on Virgil van Dijk four-and-a-half years ago.
Nunez’s arrival at Anfield would allow Mane to say an emotional goodbye to the Kop after six successful years – winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, EFL Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup – and join German giants Bayern.
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Liverpool have already rejected two bids from Bayern for Mane but will accept £40m for his services. That would be a bargain for a player of his calibre. Mane is expected to be shortlisted for this season’s Ballon d’Or, alongside the favourite Karim Benzema.
Bayern are set to sell up to eight players to fund their Mane pursuit, including youngsters Omar Richards, Joshua Zirkzee, Christian Fruchtl, Christopher Scott and Sarpreet Singh, as well experienced Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer.
Spanish midfielder Marc Rosa is reportedly close to joining Leeds in a deal worth up to £12.8m. There’s also Robert Lewandowski, who’s publicly stated his desire to leave Bayern this summer. Barcelona are leading the race to sign the Poland international.
It’s believed Liverpool are also planning on selling several players to fund the Nunez deal. Fulham are reportedly interested in signing both Neco Williams and Takumi Minamino in a deal worth £32m. Williams spent the second half of last season on loan at Craven Cottage, helping them win the Championship title and promotion to the Premier League.
Yet Monaco are leading the race for Minamino, according to The Times. The French side recently sold midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni to Real Madrid in a deal worth £68.3m. It’s believed Leeds, Wolves and Southampton are also keen on signing the Japan international.
Furthermore, Liverpool have put Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain up for sale. The England international, 28, is reportedly available for around £10m this summer, with Aston Villa and Manchester United among those interested in paying the relatively small transfer fee.