Liverpool have completed the signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica, after the club announced the deal on Tuesday. But the Uruguayan may have inadvertently confirmed the departure of Sadio Mane while commenting on his own arrival.
Nunez arrives on an initial £64million fee, with Liverpool potentially paying up to £85m depending on their success with the 22-year-old at Anfield.
The move has led to a lot of excitement across Merseyside, compensating for the disappointment that followed Liverpool’s defeat in the Champions League final just a week after missing out on the Premier League. The Reds were rocked further as Mane decided that he wanted to leave the club and seek a new challenge elsewhere.
Mane has been linked with a move to Bayern Munich, but Liverpool value their Senegalese star at close to £40m, and will be unwilling to let him go for anything less. But amid the excitement of Nunez during his first official interview with Liverpool, he may have dropped a major hint that suggests he won’t be playing with Mane next season.
The Senegalese star will enter the final year of his contract, and if Liverpool don’t sell Mane this summer then he will be free to leave at the end of next season, as will both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino at this moment in time. However, Liverpool will not crumble under any pressure, and unless their valuation is met, Mane will stay next season.
However, maybe Nunez knows something that we don’t, as the Uruguayan failed to mention Mane’s name when listing the ‘top players’ he was looking forward to working with. Of course, it can all be slightly overwhelming when conducting media duties when signing, but his Mane omission has led fans to believe that Mane will be leaving this summer.
In his first interview with Liverpool, Nunez said: “Hugely excited. Like I said before, there are some top, top players here with great qualities. There is Firmino, who’s a great player; and then Jota, who is another great striker; Luis Diaz, Salah.
“To play alongside these ‘monsters’ is going to be something really special for me because as a kid you dream of going far and I dreamt of being able to play in Europe but I didn’t expect to get as far as a great club like Liverpool. I can tell you, I’m really enjoying it so far and enjoying being here with my partner.”
But judging by Nunez’ interview, their new signing is cut from the same cloth. Nunez added: “If my partner is happy, I am happier because your family is fundamental.”
Even if Mane is heading elsewhere, there will be a lot of competition for places in the Liverpool attack. But even after signing for a large fee, Nunez was aware that he must battle for his place. “So, there’ll be a lot of competition between the forwards here but it will be healthy competition. We’re all here to help each other out so everything goes well for everybody.”