Porto have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Arsenal over the sale of Fabio Vieira.

Vieira arrived in London for a medical on Friday and Porto have subsequently announced a transfer deal has been agreed with the Gunners.

The Portuguese Primeira Liga side confirmed in a brief statement that the transfer had been agreed, with Arsenal paying £30million (€35m) up front with £4.2m (€5m) in add-ons.

Arsenal appeared to be interested in Youri Tielemans and Porto star Vitinha before his team-mate Vieira emerged as a top midfield target for manager Mikel Arteta.

Porto added that while a deal was in place, the move is subject to Vieira agreeing personal terms with the Premier League side.

"It is further informed that the final agreement is still being finalised and is awaiting its completion in the coming days," the statement added.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a productive 2021-22 Primeira Liga season, scoring six times and leading his side with 14 assists.

Darwin Nunez is "more flexible" than Erling Haaland and an ideal fit for Liverpool, according to one of his former coaches.

Nunez joined Liverpool from Benfica on Tuesday, with the Lisbon club confirming the fee to be £64million (€75m), and a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons.

The Uruguayan striker netted 34 times in 41 games in all competitions for Benfica last season.

Meanwhile, Manchester City - who pipped Liverpool by one point in a compelling Premier League title race last month - clinched the signing of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund after triggering his release clause of a reported £51.2m (€60m).

Haaland scored a monstrous 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund during two-and-a-half seasons in the Bundesliga, and talk has already begun about whether he or Nunez will do better in English football.

Former Almeria assistant manager David Badia worked with Nunez during the 2019-20 season in the Spanish second tier, with the forward netting 16 goals in 32 league games before a €24m move to Benfica.

In an exclusive interview with Stats Perform, Badia said he believes Nunez is a different type of player to Haaland, and backed him to settle quickly into Liverpool's system.

"I don't want to say they are similar because I think Darwin could be maybe a little bit more flexible," he said. "He's a player that can change the direction a little bit faster than Haaland.

"Maybe Haaland is a little bit more powerful and when he starts [running] he breaks everything in front of him, but I think that [Nunez] can change direction a bit faster and, for the style that Liverpool has, I think he is more of a fit."

Badia, who has been managing in Cyprus since leaving Almeria in January 2021, believes Nunez could be in the conversation for the Ballon d'Or during his time at Anfield.

"I think that nobody spoke about Darwin," he said regarding whether he can challenge Haaland and Kylian Mbappe in future for the prestigious award. 

"I mean, maybe in the publicity, he has not [got] the brand that the other two have.

"It's going to be a very clever move from Liverpool, because it's looked like everybody was looking [at] Haaland... nobody was saying nothing about Darwin.

"But I know him, I follow him, and I knew that the [club] who is going to take him is going to [get a] cheaper [deal]."

Badia also outlined his first impressions of Nunez when he joined Almeria from Penarol in 2019, when he worked as an assistant to then-head coach and former Real Madrid midfielder, Guti.

"In a few training sessions that we took... we could see that [Nunez] had something special. We saw that the Almeria was [too] small for him," Badia added.

"Everything that he was doing was on another level. The speed of execution was completely [different] compared to the rest of the players of the league, not only in the team of the league of the second division in Spain.

"He was a really important player for the team, also his team-mates knew that he was going to leave earlier, that he was not going to stay longer because everybody was watching him in the stands.

"We knew that this team is coming, the other team is coming, and then in the end we knew that in a short period he was going to leave and he was going to go on his way."

Darwin Nunez has similar characteristics to former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, but may actually be even faster, according to one of the Uruguayan's former coaches.

Nunez's move from Benfica to Liverpool was confirmed on Tuesday, with the Portuguese club revealing the fee to be £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a prolific 2021-22 season, finding the net 34 times in 41 games in all competitions.

Torres, who played for Liverpool between 2007 and 2011, scored 81 goals in 142 appearances for the Reds before making a big-money move to rivals Chelsea, and at his peak was considered one of the best strikers in the world.

Comparisons have been made between Nunez and Torres, with similar statures and explosiveness, and former Almeria assistant manager David Badia believes the former is actually the quicker of the two.

Badia worked with Nunez during the 2019-20 season in the Spanish second tier, with the striker bagging 16 goals in 32 league games for Almeria before a €24m move to Benfica.

Speaking to Stats Perform, Badia said of the comparison with Torres: "Of course, Fernando is a Spanish guy, [so] I will protect him, but I think that Darwin is a little bit faster than him.

"When Darwin has the possession of the ball, he is a very good player, he can control the ball, he can protect the ball.

"Maybe Fernando [was] doing the same actions at a little bit lower speed, that also is good because you can do many other things, but in my opinion, Darwin can do the plays faster."

Badia also outlined Nunez's characteristics that should make him an ideal fit in Jurgen Klopp's side.

He added: "I think it's the combination of many things.

"It's not only just one thing that he has, but if I have to say something among the others - it's the change of the pace that he has, and the speed that he can maintain over a long distance.

"He can keep this speed for 30, 35, 40 metres, and then when he arrives at the end of a move he can finish it inside the box."

Klopp regularly refers to his players as "mentality monsters", and Badia is certain Nunez will fit in at Anfield in that respect as well, pointing out how the player came back from serious knee issues early on in his career.

"One hundred percent [he has the mentality]," he added. "I think he had one of the worst injuries that a player can have when he was 16 or 17 years old. And after that he became stronger.

"It's very important when a player has these injuries that he can develop himself and keep working to have this character, this mentality.

"I think the mentality he has, the ambition he has and the focus he is having through the years, he is working for that.

"If there is one coach that can improve the players, that one is the coach of Liverpool [Klopp]. In the end, I think he's in one of the best scenarios, or maybe the best team in the world right now where he can keep improving, and I think that he still has a long way to improve."

Arsenal and Manchester United target Vitinha will only be sold if his release clause is met, according to Porto president Pinto da Costa.

Mikel Arteta's side have been heavily linked with Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans in recent weeks.

But Porto star Vitinha has emerged as a potential alternative as Arteta looks to bolster his midfield, which already includes Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard.

Reports in Portugal suggested Arsenal are the only club willing to meet the Portugal international's £35million release clause.

United are also said to be interested, with Barcelona among those attempting to secure the midfielder's services should they be able to ease financial difficulties.

Da Costa, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, revealed Porto have received an unsatisfactory bid for Vitinha, who will only be allowed to leave should his release clause be met.

"There was a concrete offer, of considerable value, for Vitinha that we did not accept," he said.

"And we referred them to the release clause, which is the only way to take our player."

Arteta is also in the market for a striker, with Gabriel Jesus and Victor Osimhen among the names being linked to the Emirates Stadium.

That is after Arsenal lost Alexander Lacazette to Lyon on a free transfer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona in January, while Eddie Nketiah is yet to agree to a new contract.

Whoever the talisman is that Arteta manages to capture, Vitinha will provide capable creative support from midfield.

The 22-year-old played 30 games in the Portuguese Primeira Liga this season, ranking second among Porto players for successful passes (1,680) and third for chances created (42).

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says new signing Darwin Nunez has all the pieces that the Reds look for in a player but insists he is still a "work in progress".

The Reds confirmed the signing of the 22-year-old Uruguay international forward on a "long-term contract" from Benfica on Tuesday.

Nunez has joined for a reported fee of £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons, in a move that is subject to the granting of a work permit and international clearance.

The striker joins after netting 48 goals in 85 appearances for Benfica, finishing as last season's Primeira Liga top scorer with 26 strikes. He also scored in both of Benfica's Champions League matches against Liverpool prompting excitement about his acquisition.

Klopp was delighted with his capture given his qualities to add to their forward options but stressed he was not the finished product yet.

"Darwin is a wonderful player, already really good but so much potential to get even better," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "That’s why it's so exciting, to be honest. His age, his desire, his hunger to be even better than he currently is. His belief in our project and what we are looking to do as a club.

"He is as excited by us as we are by him, which makes for a great relationship, when you appreciate each other’s strengths. That is certainly the case here. He thinks we suit him and we believe he is the right fit for us.

"He has all the pieces we look for. He can set a tempo, he brings energy, he can threaten space from central and wide areas. He is aggressive and dynamic with his movement. He plays without fear, he's powerful. I know he will excite our supporters.

"It’s important we all recognise we are getting a 'work in progress' with Darwin. He recognises that himself, for sure. I love how much focus and humility he has.

"We have wonderful attacking options already and he becomes part of that now. So there is no pressure on him at all. He signs for a very long time and we intend to nurture his talent and see it grow."

Klopp hailed the club's ambition in completing the deal for Nunez, who had interest from several other clubs including Manchester United and Newcastle United.

"This is super news, really super news,” Klopp added. "I’m very grateful to everyone at the club for making it happen. We've shown decisiveness and ambition in equal measure."

Nunez said Liverpool's ambition and style of play were key reasons behind his decision to join the club.

"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," he said.

"There are some great players here and I think it's going to suit my style of play here. As I say, I've watched quite a lot and it's a very big club and I hope I can give everything that I've got in order to help the team."

Nunez insisted he was not feeling any pressure to deliver instant rewards for the Reds, despite the lofty transfer figure. The Uruguayan referenced the same situation when he left Almeria to join Benfica for a club record €24m in 2020.

"I don't feel any added pressure at all," he said. "I went to Benfica and they asked me the same question then.

"I don't think a player has to feel this type of pressure, a player has to feel his own pressure that he puts on himself. I don't feel pressured by anything or anybody, I think the only pressure on a player comes from within to ensure things go well. So, no extra pressure.

"I think I must have been performing pretty well to find myself at Liverpool. I want to make sure that I keep performing well, keep on the right path and don't deviate from that path, while always remaining humble and keeping my feet on the ground."

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica, with the striker agreeing a "long-term" contract at Anfield after finalising his departure from the Lisbon giants.

The Uruguayan has joined the Reds for a reported fee of £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons.

Speaking to the club's official media channels after his arrival was officially confirmed on Tuesday, Nunez said: "I'm really happy and delighted to be here at Liverpool. It's a massive club.

"It's a pleasure to be here in Liverpool and I'm very happy to be a part of this great club.

"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. There are some great players here and I think it’s going to suit my style of play here."

Nunez signed for Benfica in 2020 from Spanish second tier side Almeria for around €24m, going on to score 45 goals in 85 games, 61 of those starts, for the Primeira Liga club in all competitions.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a prolific 2021-22 season, finding the net 34 times in 41 games in all competitions.

He also scored six times in the Champions League, including both legs of Benfica's 6-4 quarter-final aggregate defeat to Liverpool.

Nunez's arrival would appear to make the potential exit of Sadio Mane more likely, with the Senegal attacker having been heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich in recent weeks.

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Nunez can add more firepower to his already potent front line and maintain his astonishing conversion rate of 27.2 per cent, which was the highest of all players with 55 or more non-penalty shots in Europe's top six leagues last season.

 

There has been a lot of talk about the money Liverpool are investing in Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguay striker arrives at Anfield for a fee that will likely end up surpassing their previous club record of £75million spent on Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in January 2018.

Benfica confirmed on Monday they had agreed to sell Nunez to Liverpool for an initial fee of £64m (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in add-ons. Liverpool provided their own confirmation on Tuesday.

The Merseyside club will likely be saying goodbye to a key player at the same time, though, with Sadio Mane being strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich.

So can Nunez emulate what the Senegal star has been able to in his time at Liverpool, or can he even surpass it?

Stats Perform has taken a look at the 22-year-old to see what Liverpool might be getting for their cash.

Is Nunez a Mane replacement?

What appears to stand out above all else is that Nunez is being signed primarily to score goals.

He may not have hit the ground running at Benfica after making a €24m move from Almeria in September 2020, netting just six times in 29 Primeira Liga games (19 starts) in 2020-21, but he more than made up for it this season.

Nunez had an expected goals (xG) rating of 9.98 in his first season according to Opta, suggesting he was not scoring as many as he should, which he almost overcompensated for in 2021-22 by recording 26 goals in 28 league games (24 starts) from 18.4 xG.

By comparison, Mane – who is in the conversation for the 2022 Ballon d'Or – scored 16 goals in 34 Premier League appearances (32 starts) an xG figure remarkably similar to Nunez (18.3). So, while the chances that went their way were of a comparable value over the course of the season, the Uruguayan proved far more clinical.

The relative difference in quality between the top flights in England and Portugal must be taken into account, of course, but in the Champions League the duo also matched up well.

Nunez scored six goals from 10 appearances (six starts) from an xG of just 3.1, while Mane registered five goals from 13 games (11 starts) from an xG of 4.5. Once again, the 22-year-old proved a more dependable finisher of chances than the Senegal star.

Whether Nunez can translate this to English football remains to be seen, but there are other interesting parallels between the two players which indicate they are perhaps not as different as some appear to think.

In their respective leagues last season, Nunez and Mane also offered a similar degree of creativity. The former registered four assists from an expected assists (xA) total of 4.8, while Mane had two from 4.4 xA to his name, suggesting he was let down by poor finishing from his team-mates on occasion.

Both players have proven themselves to be comfortable running with the ball as well, attempting 86 dribbles each over the 2021-22 season, though Mane's success rate of 54.7 per cent was significantly better than Nunez's 45.4.

Of course, the chief difference between the pair is the fact former Southampton attacker Mane has mostly played off the left for Liverpool, whereas Nunez is primarily a centre forward.

That should not be an issue though, given the Reds addressed that side of the pitch only a few months ago by shopping in a familiar market.

Primeira Liga? Completed it, amigo

To the surprise of many, not least Liverpool, they had their hand forced at the end of the January transfer window and signed Luis Diaz from Porto, so it is a league they clearly know well.

Not that they hadn't already intended to buy Diaz, but reports suggested the plan was to do so at the end of the season, only for an unexpected advance from Tottenham to make them bring the transaction forward.

It proved a welcome necessity as Diaz hit the ground running and played a big part in Liverpool almost doing the unthinkable and winning an unprecedented quadruple.

However, with the Colombian taking the role on the left of the attack, Mane was asked to play in an unfamiliar central position for the remainder of the campaign, though broadly to impressive effect.

Nunez will be a slightly more natural fit in that central role, and like Diaz will be hoping the transition from the Primeira Liga to the Premier League is a relatively seamless one.

He already showed in his two performances against Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals this term that he can cut it against English opposition.

In the first leg in Lisbon, Jurgen Klopp's men ran out 3-1 winners, but Nunez scored the Benfica goal and played well enough that Virgil van Dijk recently listed him as one of his toughest ever opponents in an interview with Rio Ferdinand.

He arguably impressed more in the return leg at Anfield, when Van Dijk did not play. Nunez often pulled out to the left and stretched Liverpool's defence, and had it not been for their effective offside trap, could have had a hat-trick.

Nunez put the ball in the Liverpool net three times, but two were ruled out by the assistant referee as Benfica drew 3-3, losing 6-4 on aggregate.

He showed his force of personality in the final 10 minutes though as he also brought a tremendous save out of Alisson, and almost dragged his team back into a contest they had previously been well out of.

Can Liverpool adapt to Nunez?

Two of Liverpool's goals that night were scored by Roberto Firmino, who was excellent under the Anfield floodlights, but who has seen his previously key role in Liverpool's attack diminish in recent years.

It was appreciated that the way the Brazil international played in more of a 'false nine' role allowed Mane and Mohamed Salah to thrive, until the arrival of Diogo Jota in 2020, which signalled a slight move away from that as the former Wolves man increasingly played a role closer to that of a traditional striker in Klopp's system.

It oversimplifies Nunez to suggest he is an out and out number nine in the mould of an Erling Haaland. He drops deep and pulls wide similarly to smaller attackers, like the ones already at Liverpool in fact.

However, at 6ft 2in tall, he could also provide a weapon that will have the eyes of Liverpool full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson lighting up, particularly the former.

No other defender in Europe's top five leagues created anything like Alexander-Arnold's 129 chances this season, with Robertson second on 90, ahead of Fiorentina's Cristiano Biraghi (89).

He also created the most 'big chances' this season (defined by Opta as a chance from which a goal would be expected) with 27, while only Hoffenheim's David Raum (226) and RB Leipzig's Angelino (211) provided more open play crosses than his 191.

On paper, Nunez has everything needed to succeed in the Premier League. Pace, power, skill, shooting accuracy and lovely hair.

The Darwin evolution puns are already wearing thin, for which we take partial responsibility, but it will be best for the player if he ignores all comparisons.

Nunez can simply be his own man.

Harry Kane says the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in the Premier League will drive him to improve in an enticing Golden Boot race.

Kane has won three Golden Boot awards in the English top flight – in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2020-21 – and managed 17 goals this season as Tottenham qualified for the Champions League.

Spurs team-mate Son Heung-min shared the accolade for the most Premier League goals with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah this season, the pair scoring 23 goals each.

Jurgen Klopp looks set to add more firepower to his attack at Anfield, with Nunez close to joining Liverpool for an initial fee of £64million (€75m) from Benfica.

Nunez has scored 48 goals in 85 games for Benfica in all competitions and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola bolstered his own wealth of attacking options with the Premier League champions Manchester City by triggering Haaland's release clause at Borussia Dortmund.

The Norway international scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund since joining from Salzburg in January 2020, averaging a goal every 84 minutes across all competitions.

Kane cannot wait to compete with the duo next season as the Premier League adds more talismanic talent to their ranks.

 

"Look, I think the battle for the Golden Boot is always tough," Kane said at a pre-match news conference while on Nations League duty with England on Monday. 

"The Premier League has produced some top strikers around the world for a number of years now.

"I think every season I've been playing it's always been a tough battle to win that Golden Boot and it's no different.

"You expect the top strikers to want to play in the Premier League and with those two new signings, that's gonna be the case.

"I think it helps me as a player to have good competition, it drives me to improve and get better. I look forward to the challenge."

The build-up to Kane's 2021-22 campaign was filled with distraction as City tried and failed to secure the services of the England striker, attempting to replace the void left by Sergio Aguero at the Etihad Stadium.

Kane will likely have a smoother pre-season this time around and will look to utilise that to prepare for another campaign under Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

 

"I try and focus on myself to begin with. Going into any season I have things I want to achieve and goals I want to reach," he added.

"I try not to focus too much on other players in that aspect, I can't control what they do.

"But what I will do is continue to work hard and improve and after this game have a nice break but then look forward to what will be a tough pre-season.

"And then I'll get ready for the new season as I have done for the last seven, eight years now."

Benfica have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Liverpool over the sale of Darwin Nunez.

Releasing a statement on their website early on Monday, Benfica confirmed the Uruguay striker will head to Anfield for a fee of £64million (€75m), with a further £21.4m (€25m) in potential add-ons.

Nunez signed for Benfica in 2020 from Spanish second tier side Almeria for around €24m and scored 45 goals in 85 games, 61 of those starts, for the Primeira Liga club in all competitions.

The club also notified that finalising the deal will now depend on the agreement of personal terms between Nunez, his representatives and Liverpool.

"It is further informed that the aforementioned agreement is dependent on the signing of the player's employment contract with Liverpool FC," a Benfica statement said.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a prolific 2021-22 season, finding the net 34 times in 41 games in all competitions.

Darwin Nunez is "mentally strong" enough to deal with the pressure of playing for Liverpool, according to an ex-coach of the Benfica star.

The 22-year-old has been widely linked with a transfer from Portugal to join Jurgen Klopp's Reds in the Premier League next season.

Already regarded as one of the world's most-promising young strikers, hopes are high that he can help deliver the sort of impact Erling Haaland is anticipated to at rivals Manchester City.

Leonardo Ramos, who gave the Uruguay international his debut at Penarol before his move to Europe, certainly feels Nunez is ready to back himself, adamant his previous experiences with injury problems have only strengthened his resolve.

"I think that he is more mentally strong now," Ramos told Stats Perform. "Because I can tell you that he was suffering a lot.

"[He was] suffering at the level of running and training while crying all the time, so he knows what suffering is, he knows what constant pressure is.

"At that moment, me and his representative didn't know [the injury he had] and probably we put a very big pressure on his head because his career as a footballer was at stake with all the conditions he had.

"It seems to me that, the fact that he was in Portugal and he was on a level where everyone was talking about him – because really everyone was talking about Darwin Nunez – it seems that today his head is ready for that, to withstand that pressure."

Nunez struggled with injuries during his breakthrough at Penarol, making just 15 league appearances before leaving for Almeria in 2019.

But Ramos believes the experience helped him gain an edge on team-mates, with a recovery routine that added more bulk to his physique to compliment his impressive skill set.

"Darwin ended up being what he is today, an incredible player," he reflected. "We saw him and he saw it too, and especially enhanced, because Darwin gained a lot of muscle mass in training separate from team-mates.

"He changed his physique a lot. Today, he is much more athletic, but he was already an outstanding player. He showed that when he debuted, he showed all his level."

Darwin Nunez is reportedly on the brink of joining Liverpool and was left out of Uruguay's 5-0 friendly win over Panama on Saturday.

The striker's absence from the match in Montevideo was confirmed following the announcement of the teams.

A short message on Uruguay's Twitter page simply listed Nunez among four players who would play no part in the game, with no reason given.

That development came as speculation mounted around a mooted move to Liverpool, with Benfica reportedly set to receive an initial fee in the region of £68.3million (€80m).

The Reds have seemingly won the race for one of the most sought-after strikers in world football.

Nunez scored 34 goals in 41 games for Benfica in 2021-22 – including six in 10 in the Champions League, as he netted in both legs of the quarter-final against Liverpool.

The 22-year-old's signing would seemingly accommodate the sale of Sadio Mane, who has been the subject of interest from Bayern Munich ahead of his contract expiring next year.

In Nunez's absence on Saturday, Edinson Cavani struck either side of half-time for Uruguay.

The veteran front man linked up with Giorgian de Arrascaeta to net from close range six minutes before the break, then had his second within three minutes of the restart, converting from the spot after winning the penalty himself.

Further goals followed from substitutes Nicolas De La Cruz, Maxi Gomez and Diego Rossi to ensure a one-sided final scoreline.

Brazil great Cafu has backed Darwin Nunez to succeed should he join Liverpool, given the Reds' recent purchasing history and coaching ability of Jurgen Klopp.

Sadio Mane has been subject of repeated interest from Bayern Munich, with the Bundesliga champions attempting to secure the services of the Senegal international.

Julian Nagelsmann's side are reported to have had a second bid for the Liverpool forward rejected earlier this week, but Bayern are expected to persist with their advances.

Mane's exit would open the door for Liverpool to sign Nunez, who has been heavily linked with a big-money move to Anfield that could be worth up to €100million (£85m).

Nunez has scored 48 goals in 85 games for Benfica in all competitions and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.

The 22-year-old managed 34 goals in 41 games in all competitions last campaign, including six Champions League strikes against Barcelona, Bayern, Ajax and Liverpool.

After the success of signings such as Mohamed Salah, Mane and Alisson, along with more recent transfers such as Thiago and Luis Diaz, Cafu believes Liverpool rarely get things wrong in the transfer market.

"Look, every time Liverpool acquires a player, it's a spot-on purchase," Cafu told Stats Perform at a media day ahead of his participation in Sunday's Soccer Aid charity match.

"Klopp is a very, very smart coach, very good, he's been doing well at Liverpool for many years, if he wants to get this player it's because Liverpool really wants to bet a lot on him."

Cafu also discussed the success of his former side Roma, who lifted their first major European trophy with Europa Conference League success under Jose Mourinho this term.

That was the Giallorossi's first title in any competition since the Coppa Italia in 2008 and Cafu, who won the Scudetto with Roma in 2001, expressed his delight to see his former team triumphing.

"Yes, it's difficult but not impossible [winning trophies in Rome]. We won, we celebrated, we've been celebrating until today," he added. 

"Congratulations to Mourinho and the whole team, which has a great season this year, getting to win the Conference League, and let's hope they can continue this way.

"It's a place where, when they win, they celebrate for a long time. I hope they're very happy of this season."

However, Cafu refused to make comparisons between Mourinho's winning team and the Roma side he played in.

"It's not that we were stronger, you just can't compare," he continued. "It was a team that won the Scudetto, we won a lot of great things, this team won as well, but you can't compare a winning team."

Robbie Keane has questioned why any player would swap Liverpool for Bayern Munich amid strong speculation that Sadio Mane could be on his way to the German champions.

Bayern are reported to have had a second bid of €35.3million (£30m), a part of which is made up of bonus-related add-ons, rejected by Liverpool earlier this week.

Mane has won six major trophies across his six seasons at Anfield and has another 12 months to run on his contract.

However, speaking while away on international duty with Senegal last week, the 30-year-old hinted he is open to departing the English giants this window.

But ex-Liverpool striker Keane has suggested Mane would be making a backwards step in his career if he moves from the Premier League runners-up to the Bundesliga winners.

"If Mane goes obviously it's a big loss for Liverpool," Keane told Stats Perform at a media day ahead of his participation in Sunday's Soccer Aid charity match.

"If the rumours are true and he goes to Bayern Munich, it's a great signing for them. It looks like they're going to lose [Robert] Lewandowski. 

"I can't really see why would you leave Liverpool to go to Bayern Munich at this moment in time.

"Especially when you got a manager like Jurgen Klopp and what they're doing at the moment in winning two cups, and could've easily won four of them. 

"I'm surprised by it. Obviously he's a top, top player. I'm sure, wherever he goes, any team will be happy with him."

 

Mane has scored 90 goals in 196 Premier League appearances for Liverpool since joining from Southampton for £34m at the start of the 2016-17 campaign.

Only Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (104), Liverpool colleague Mohamed Salah (118) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (134) have scored more in the competition in that period.

He would undoubtedly leave a huge void to be filled, but Jurgen Klopp's side appear to be close to signing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez as a likely replacement.

Nunez has scored 48 goals in 85 games for Benfica in all competitions, 61 of those being starts, and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.

That compares to 0.5 goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League for Mane, albeit across six more matches in the 2021-22 season and in what is a tougher division.

Keane, who spent a season at Anfield in 2008-09, believes Nunez will provide something a little different for Liverpool should a deal be agreed with Benfica.

"I've watched him a few times and I think he's a good player," Keane said. "He's obviously young and he's more of a number nine, which Liverpool haven't had for a few years.

"They have [Roberto] Firmino, of course, but Firmino drops into 10. They haven't had a typical number nine. 

"So it'll bring a bit more of a target man up there who others can play off. I think it will be a good signing."

Keane is also looking forward to playing in this weekend's Soccer Aid in association with UNICEF, a charity match that will help raise money to give kids the best start in life.

"We're here so UNICEF can raise as much money as possible, which is an incredible cause," he said.

"What they've done over the last 11-12 years, the amount of money they've raised is incredible. But it's also good to come here and mix with completely different people."

Darwin Nunez can be a hybrid of fellow Uruguayan strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, according to a former coach of the 22-year-old.

Nunez has been heavily linked with a big-money move from Benfica to Liverpool or Manchester United ahead of next season, with a reported fee of up to €100million (£85m) being touted.

The young forward produced electric form for Benfica in 2021-22, scoring 34 goals in 41 games in all competitions, including six Champions League goals against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Ajax and Liverpool.

Leonardo Ramos coached Nunez during his time at Penarol in Uruguay and told Stats Perform of his belief that, while the player still has a lot to learn, he is showing similar traits to legendary La Celeste strikers Suarez and Cavani.

"Everyone compares him a lot to Cavani," Ramos said. "They have a similar style. It seems to me that Darwin is faster and more powerful than Cavani. Cavani, maybe now he is a more experienced player and knows the moments where to press, when to attack, when to go back, when to be able to play and associate with his team-mates.

"Today, Darwin seems to me to be much more explosive, but apart from that explosiveness, he obviously has already shown unbelievable a scoring ability. 

"It is the same scoring ability that we saw in Uruguay when he was in the bases of Penarol because he scored many goals there. And the truth is that if you ask me about a player who looks quite similar to him, I would say Cavani."

When asked if there were any similarities to former Liverpool and Barcelona star Suarez, Ramos said: "I think he has two parts, it's half-and-half.

"He has the power that Suarez had to go for everything, to go to the clash, to be a fighter with the rival. And he also has the part of Cavani, of being a much more athletic player, more physical, more intelligent, and I think it's a union of those two things that are important.

"Let's see, Darwin is still a very young boy, he has to learn a lot. It is not to discredit the Portuguese league, but [he will be judged] playing in Spain or Italy, which along with England, are the places where he will surely need much more of his characteristics and his strength to perform much better."

Reports suggest that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp sees Nunez as an ideal replacement for Sadio Mane, who is being linked with a move to Bayern Munich, and Ramos can see why the Reds are interested, though does think it could be a bit early for the player to move to such a club.

"Darwin is a player who can help a lot in the recovery of the ball," he said. "With Uruguay, he does it and does it very well.

"Yes, he is a player who has to play near the area because there he is lethal, he has no regard for the opponent, he knows in advance where the ball is going to fall and where the goal is, [but] I don't know if it's time for him to go to Liverpool now. Not because of his conditions, but because [Liverpool] is a very big club.

"There have been players who have been very important in world football who have gone to play for Liverpool and they have failed.

"I think it would suit Darwin, and I have to say that this is just my opinion, it does not mean I am right, but I think that it would be better for him to go to a lower team to gain experience and explode at another time.

"Although the moments are now and Darwin's time is now, so if he goes to Liverpool, it seems to me that if Liverpool takes him it's because they really believe he can work in their team."

Liverpool's Champions League final loss seemingly signalled the end for Sadio Mane at Anfield.

Luis Diaz's January transfer, along with fresh links for Raphinha to Anfield, all lead to Mane's eventual departure. 

However, the Reds are not willing to let him go for the wrong price, in what is becoming a tricky leverage play.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL REJECT BAYERN BID FOR MANE

Liverpool have rejected Bayern Munich's opening €29.1million (£25m) bid for  Sadio Mane, according to the Times.

The offer was reportedly submitted at the end of last week and the sum is inclusive of add-ons, which depend on Bayern's performances next season, such as winning the Champions League.

Liverpool officials did not consider the offer, which is perceived a gross undervaluing of the 30-year-old attacker.

Although Bayern want to move quickly on securing the Senegal international, Liverpool have yet to relay a price at which they would be willing to sell. 

ROUND-UP

– Meanwhile, the Reds will not look to further pursue Barcelona midfielder Gavi, according to Sport.

– Nemanja Matic will join Roma once his contract at Manchester United expires at the end of the month, per Sky Sports.

– Benfica are hoping to reach an agreement with PSV over Mario Gotze, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Talks are in progress for Inter's Stefano Sensi to join newly promoted Monza on a €15m permanent deal, per Nicolo Schira.

Page 3 of 6
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.