Robbie Fowler claimed it’s a “guarantee” Liverpool were uneasy about one aspect of their Darwin Nunez deal, and fired shots at Man Utd over their transfer record.
The Reds are close to wrappingd a deal to bring Nunez on board for a club-record fee. An initial payment of £ 64m will make its way to Benfica, though the extra £ 21m in add-ons could see the Liverpool break deal 76.1m transfer record record currently held by Virgil van Dijk.
The Uruguayan hotshot is expected to sign a six-year deal and will reportedly undergo a medical on Monday.
Manchester United were known to have had plans afoot over hijacking the deal. Indeed, Man Utd were in late contact with Darwin’s agent, Jorge Mendes, though they were ultimately reluctant to enter a bidding war.
According to Robbie Fowler, United’s presence in the saga will have made those at Anfield very “uneasy”.
However, the Reds legend explained why that factor could amplify Liverpool’s potential masterstroke before firing shots at United’s recent transfer record.
“With the record signing of Darwin Nunez looking all but done for Liverpool, what fascinates me is the presence of Manchester United amid the negotiations,” wrote Fowler in his column for the Mirror.
“I can guarantee the Anfield people would have been uneasy with that, as it has the potential to push up not only the price but the wages too. No agent worth his salt wouldn’t use it to get a bigger contract, let’s be clear.
“But United being there in the background – for me – highlights just why this could so easily be another masterstroke for Liverpool in the transfer market, and it’s a point that is so often overlooked in the desperation to see new faces, new signings, new excitement. ”
Fowler tees off on Ronaldo, Alexis deals
The former striker then took aim at United over the approach they’ve taken to high profile transfers in recent years. Among those in his sights were Cristiano Ronaldo and Alexis Sanchez, with the latter having a knock-on consequence for David de Gea.
“I do not want to be cruel, but United could have written a book on how not to do transfers in recent seasons. Signing players just because you do not want them to go to a rival? Check and double-check.
“Cristiano has done his job well enough, but signing him because he could have gone to City? That just had disaster written all over it. And the same with Alexis Sanchez. No, not the same, 10 times worse.
“That deal highlights everything that has been wrong at Old Trafford. How much did it cost? About 500 grand a week in wages, which I saw somewhere cost them about 20 million quid a goal…!
“Much, much worse though, was that it did not just break United’s pay structure, it shattered it. That’s how a goalkeeper [De Gea] can end up on £ 400,000 a week, and a midfielder like Pogba who could not even get in the team half the time on even more. ”
Fowler correct, though Darwin Nunez deal shows times are changing
While many of Fowler’s points are valid, United do finally appear to be taking a more sensible approach to the market.
Aside from Robert Lewandowskigone are links to aging players with little to no re-sale value and only a handful of years left at the top.
At center-back, United have been linked with Jurrien Timber and Pau Torres. Both are aged 25 or under and have their best years ahead, not behind.
The same can be said for primary midfield target, Frenkie de Jong. The Barcelona ace will add class and creativity if signed and is a target in the position United are arguably at their weakest.
Regarding Darwin, United look certain to miss out. Though it is encouraging that he was at least targeted as opposed to a veteran striker like Edinson Cavani, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Radamel Falcao.
While the first two did contribute in their time at Old Trafford, they did little to halt United’s slide behind Liverpool and Man City in the long run.