Liverpool could face transfer decision on $108m ace but it may not have come yet for Arne Slot

Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez warm up for a Liverpool training session.
Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez have scored 31 goals between them for Liverpool this season. -Credit:Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Darwin Núñez has been a topic of conversation at Liverpool almost from the moment he arrived. Coming in from Benfica for a potentially club-record fee, the now-24-year-old still needs to kick on again to fulfill his full potential.

In the last week, the Spanish outlet Sport has reported that Barcelona is keen to replace Robert Lewandowski with the Uruguayan and there is a conversation to be had, two years into his Liverpool career, about whether Núñez has offered enough yet. He has 31 goal contributions (goals and assists combined) this season but has missed a whole heap of opportunities as well.

On the one hand, he might be the ideal age to progress to the next level and explode in terms of goalscoring numbers. On the other, as Jamie Carragher suggested after the Merseyside derby, this version of Núñez might just be what he is.

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If a big offer was to present itself this summer, what should the Reds do? Two of our writers have had their say, and you can add yours in the comments section below the article.

"Darwin Núñez needs another year" - Matt Addison

If nothing changes, there will come a point when a difficult decision has to be made with Núñez at Liverpool. There can be no hiding away from that, but I don't think that time has come yet.

Let's imagine for a second that Núñez was to be sold this summer and Liverpool decided to move on from him. There could be no absolute assurance that he wouldn't score a heap of goals wherever he went. There is a balance to be struck, and you can't wait forever, but I've not yet given up hope of things clicking for him.

More importantly, I'm not sure who Liverpool could get (who would be affordable) who could be an instant upgrade. There are not many elite number nines out there which is exactly why Núñez cost so much (up to $108m/£85m/€100m) in the first place. Next summer, if the situation is still the same and nothing has altered for him under Arne Slot, then Liverpool has a call to make. Right now, I don't quite see it that way.

"A big offer should be considered" - Emmet Gates

There’s clearly a talent in Núñez, otherwise Liverpool wouldn’t have bought him. At the beginning of the season, it looked like he’d developed from the erratic and wasteful forward we saw last season, but as this campaign unfolded, Núñez regressed into the chaotic forward we saw in his first season.

Now, I’m not blaming his wastefulness for Liverpool dropping out of the title race solely, but if he scores half of the chances he wasted over the course of the season, would Liverpool still be in the hunt for the trophy? It's definitely possible because it wouldn't have taken much.

With Manchester City so relentless under Pep Guardiola and the margins finer than they’ve ever been in the history of the English game, Liverpool is no longer in a position to buy strikers with the hope of developing them into world-class operators. Buying raw diamonds and hoping they become polished takes time, and Liverpool now needs its own Erling Haaland: someone can hit the ground running from day one.

Can Liverpool afford to wait on Núñez for a third season to fulfill his potential? It’s doubtful, so if a presentable offer arrives for him this summer, Liverpool should take it, and reinvest the money in a striker who will score the necessary goals to bring them the title. It hasn't worked out as planned yet, so nothing should be completely ruled out.