'I played for Liverpool and it would be absolutely bonkers to sanction transfer for $108m star'

Darwin Núñez and Andrew Robertson of Liverpool look dejected following their side's elimination from the UEFA Europa League after the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 Quarter-Final second leg match between Atalanta and Liverpool FC at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on April 18, 2024 in Bergamo, Italy.
Liverpool has been told it would be 'absolutely bonkers' to sell one of its stars this summer. -Credit:Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Liverpool is set for a summer of major upheaval. But Glen Johnson has warned that one transfer should not even be considered as the club prepares to embark on a new era.

Already, there have been all sorts of transfer rumors, with Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz both linked with moves away. But Jürgen Klopp is leaving behind a team that was in the hunt for a quadruple until March, and in the title running for another month after that — plenty of the pieces are already in place for Arne Slot.

Many of the big questions will be left to the recruitment team. Michael Edwards has returned to the FSG fold in a head of football capacity, and he has appointed the likes of Richard Hughes (sporting director), Julian Ward (technical director) and David Woodfine (assistant sporting director) to guide Liverpool's strategy in this regard.

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And Johnson, a right-back for Liverpool from 2009 to 2015, has urged this new-look department not to give up on Núñez. He claims it would be 'absolutely bonkers' to sell the striker.

"They can’t let him go. It would be absolutely bonkers," Johnson told Betfred. "Nobody knows the reason for why he deleted those pictures but for me, as a player and what he does for Liverpool, they can’t let him go.

"He’s the right age and I know he misses loads, but he creates so many chances for himself. He’s young and creates loads of chances, so by the law of averages you’re going to miss a lot, but I think what he does for Liverpool is underrated.

"I like him a lot and players like him don’t come around often, so if they’re prepared to let him go, then they’re going to have to spend around £80m (c. $100m) to find a replacement that’s as good as him. He has to stay."

Núñez, signed in 2022 for a fee that could reach $108m (£86m/€100m), has 18 goals and 13 assists for Liverpool in all competitions this season. But he has found the net just once in his last 10 Premier League games (charging down the Sheffield United goalkeeper's clearance), and Jürgen Klopp has relegated him to the bench. says: Johnson has perhaps gone a little too strong, but he makes a fundamentally valid point. The return of so many data-focused experts to the club is only likely to help Núñez's case, given how well he shows up in the underlying numbers.

Whether those numbers point towards the long-anticipated 'explosion' in the striker's form remains to be seen. We know from Benfica that it's possible. But there may come a point where Liverpool simply needs to accept it has signed a below-average finisher, given this long stretch of underperformance against expected goals.

But Johnson is right: he's still young, still learning and still performing a potentially underrated role for the team even when he isn't finding the net. Perhaps a reset under Slot could be exactly what Núñez needs, and he should at least be given that chance.