Liverpool have opened dialogue about a move for Benfica’s Darwin Nunez as they look at options to replace Sadio Mane, who has been the subject of a second failed bid from Bayern Munich, 90min understands.
90min has been told that Liverpool already have a list of targets who they would move for if they lost key members of their squad, Mane included.
And one of those on Liverpool’s list is understood to be Nunez, who Benfica are ready to sell this summer.
Manchester United are continuing to lead the race and have held extensive talks with Jorge Mendes – who is handling Nunez’s transfer – and while Liverpool have made their interest known, they have also made it clear to the Portuguese agent and Benfica that they will not be drawn into a bidding war.
Liverpool are believed to want a player who can play centrally – like Mane has been doing on a regular basis in recent times – and Nunez is a player they have been following for much of the last 12 months.
They have also seen first hand how his biggest rival in Portuguese football, Luis Diaz, has settled into life in England and Anfield. 90min has been told that Diaz’s impact at Liverpool is something that Nunez has taken a keen interest in.
Liverpool’s interest in Nunez has intensified in recent weeks after it emerged that Mane was not looking to sign a new contract at Anfield and would like to move this summer, and Bayern are trying to complete a deal. The German champions made a second bid for the Senegal forward but Liverpool were again left unimpressed with their offer.
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Sources close to Liverpool have confirmed to 90min that Bayern’s latest offer was worth up to £30m, but the initial deal would still be worth less than £25m. Liverpool have made it clear that this sort of offer is way short of their valuation.
It is understood that Liverpool want over £40m before they would even consider selling Mane.