Among the decisions facing incoming Liverpool boss Arne Slot is whether to stick or twist with polarising striker, Darwin Nunez, with the Uruguayan hotshot still yet to truly convince as the club’s leading number nine....READ THE FULL ARTICLE FROM THE SOURCE

Signed on a club-record £85m deal back in 2022, the 24-year-old has since scored 33 goals in 96 games in all competitions for the Merseyside outfit, albeit with just 20 of those strikes having come in the Premier League.

With 47 ‘big chances’ missed to boot in the top-flight, the former Benfica man’s woes saw him fall out of favour in the last days of Jurgen Klopp, having started on the bench in five of the last six league games.

The German had seemingly seen enough and perhaps Slot has already made his mind up too, with the club believed to be seeking a potential upgrade on their profligate marksman this summer.

Liverpool seeking Nunez replacement

According to journalist Graeme Bailey, Liverpool are said to be among a handful of clubs – alongside Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United – who are all keeping tabs on Aston Villa talisman, Ollie Watkins, with the Englishman in high demand following a stunning campaign under Unai Emery.

Those interested parties believe that the 28-year-old could be available ‘for the right price’, even despite Villa remaining adamant that he will not be sold as they prepare for a return to the Champions League.

No price tag for the former Brentford man – who is valued at €60m (£52m) by CIES Football Observatory – is given, with it likely to take a considerable sum to force Villa’s hand.

How Watkins compares to Darwin Nunez

In truth, Watkins has blown Nunez out of the water this season with regard to his goalscoring heroics at Villa Park, with the one-time Exeter City man netting 27 times in all competitions – nine more than Nunez achieved at Anfield.

Like the divisive Liverpool striker, Watkins also laid on 13 assists as an indication of just where his all-round game is at present, with Conor Coady suggesting that Emery has taken him to an “absolute new level” over the last 18 months or so.

Watkins record vs ‘Big Six’
Club Games Goals Assists
Arsenal 9 5 0
Chelsea 10 2 0
Liverpool 8 5 2
Manchester City 7 2 2
Manchester United 10 1 1
Spurs 8 3 1
Total 52 18 6
Nunez record vs ‘Big Six’
Club Games Goals Assists
Arsenal 7 1 0
Chelsea 4 0 1
Manchester City 6 1 1
Manchester United 4 2 2
Spurs 3 0 1
Total 27 4 5
Stats via Transfermarkt

When looking solely at league form across the last two seasons, the Villa ace has netted 34 goals and missed 40 ‘big chances’, while – as previously mentioned – Nunez has scored just 20 times and missed 47 ‘big chances’.

A proven Premier League striker – having hit double figures in all four full seasons at Villa Park since arriving in 2020 – the 11-cap England international could represent an almost sure-fire upgrade, allowing Slot to employ a new attacking figurehead on Merseyside.

The £130k-per-week star has also received the backing of notable figures associated with Liverpool in recent times, with academy graduate Coady describing him as a “nightmare to play against”, while club legend Steven Gerrard – who coached Watkins at Villa – previously noted a likeness between the in-form striker and a certain Fernando Torres.

Speaking back in 2022, Gerrard stated: “I picture Ollie Watkins at his best when he’s really front-footed, aggressive with that bit between his teeth. He is a lovely player on the eye with the goals he scores and his technical ability. He reminds me in a lot of ways, in terms of his profile and how he goes about it, of a player I played with – Fernando Torres.”

Prior to breaking Liverpool hearts after joining Chelsea in 2011, Torres was something of a goalscoring machine alongside Gerrard at Anfield, scoring 81 goals in 142 games for the club following his arrival from Atletico Madrid.

Attempting to replicate the Spaniard’s feats would be a tricky task for Watkins, yet having proven his credentials repeatedly over the last few seasons, he’d undoubtedly be a worthy replacement for Nunez to lead the line….CONTINUE READING THE FULL ARTICLE>>>


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