MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 25, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez after the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The true cost of Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez deal has risen after Man City milestone

Darwin Nunez played his 60th game for Liverpool in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Man City, which meant the club’s outlay on the striker went up significantly.

When Liverpool struck a €100 million deal with Benfica last summer, it confirmed Nunez as their most expensive signing of all time.

The fee stood at £85 million, eclipsing those paid for the likes of Virgil van Dijk (£75m), Alisson (£65m) and Naby Keita (£52.75m), which only heightened expectations.

Now reaching form that merits that status, Nunez made his 36th start for the club as they travelled to the Etihad on Saturday.

It was the Uruguayan’s 60th appearance for Liverpool overall, though it brought a rather muted performance as returning from South America ahead of a 12.30pm kickoff appeared to take its toll.

Either way, the occasion prompted a seven-figure payday for Benfica, who received a further £8.5 million of the package agreed in 2022.

As reported upon his move to Anfield, the up-front fee guaranteed to the Portuguese club was £63.7 million, with the remainder included in add-ons.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, April 5, 2022: Benfica's Darwin Nunez during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between SL Benfica and Liverpool FC at the Estádio da Luz. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool paid £4.3 million of that after Nunez’s 10th appearance, which saw him score in the 7-1 thrashing of Rangers last season, while the 60th milestone means another £8.5 million will be paid.

That leaves just £8.5 million left, which according to reports in Portugal “depends on the individual and collective performance of the team throughout the contract.”

Nunez may have already hit some of these targets, for example as he has already scored 22 goals for the club along with nine assists.

But while they have now paid at least £76.5 million for their No. 9 – meaning he has already cost more than Van Dijk regardless of further add-ons – Liverpool should consider it a worthy outlay.

It is still early in Nunez’s development at the club, but he is showing every sign of becoming the elite-level centre-forward Jurgen Klopp and his staff had hoped upon sanctioning that club-record fee.