Chelsea rebuffed in cheeky bid for Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez

Peter Staunton
  • Updated: 22 Feb 2024 15:23 GMT
  • 3 min read
Darwin Nunez, Chelsea, Liverpool, 2023/24

Liverpool will contest the first piece of silverware of the season on Sunday when they come up against Chelsea at Wembley in the final of the Carabao Cup.

The Reds are having a far more successful season than their London counterparts, leading the table by four points from Manchester City, and are looking solid despite a worsening injury crisis heading into the final.

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There is no doubt, however, thatChelsea had the better of the exchanges between the sides in last summer’s transfer window.

It was no secret that the Todd Boehly-led organisation beat Liverpool to the punch on both Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo.

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, even spoke about the prospect of breaking the £100 million barrier for Caicedo, having previously stated he would never pay that sum on a single player.

Lavia, meanwhile, was offered the chance to move to Anfield but the Belgian youngster opted for west London instead.

Chelsea knocked back in Darwin bid

Chelsea have splashed the cash since 2022, as Boehly’s BlueCo investment vehicle sought to overhaul the Stamford Bridge playing squad, lavishing fortunes on the likes of Wesley Fofana, Raheem Sterling, Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk, among others.

Now it has emerged they had their eyes on another forward in last summer’s market, only to be rebuffed. The player in question was none other than Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguayan striker was signed by Klopp in the summer of 2022 from Benfica and he had a rocky start at Anfield after being sent off for violent conduct against Crystal Palace in one of his early games. However, he eventually settled into life at Liverpool and now looks like a star.

He finished with a respectable 15 goals in 42 matches across all competitions last season, striking up a strong partnership with Mohamed Salah, but many struggled with the perception that he was always a work in progress.

Now, the Times’ Northern Football Writer Paul Joyce claims Chelsea made a cheeky check on Darwin’s status at Liverpool last summer.

Citing “speculation within the football industry” that Liverpool might entertain bids for Nunez after only one season, Chelsea saw fit to enquire about the possibility of adding Darwin to their ranks.

Reports had linked the Reds with a swap deal involving Nunez and Joao Felix - of Atletico Madrid - and Sporting Director Paul Winstanley is believed to have picked up the phone to see if the Reds were really interested in letting their star signing go.

However, he backed down once it was made clear those reports were wide of the mark and Darwin was going nowhere.

Chelsea's striker woes

Chelsea ended up signing Christopher Nkunku and Nicolas Jackson up front - from RB Leipzig and Villarreal respectively - but neither have been resounding successes so far.

France international Nkunku has spent most of his Chelsea career on the treatment table, scoring two goals across only 10 matches. On the other hand, Jackson has only scored one Premier League goal since netting against Manchester City in November, although he missed the majority of January due to his participation at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Nunez, meanwhile, has demonstrated fine form across this season and is among Liverpool’s most impressive performers.

The Uruguayan has led the fight up front for Liverpool but missed out on this week’s 4-1 Premier League win against Luton Town.

The Reds will be hoping he will be fit for Sunday’s showpiece, where he can show the Blues just what they were missing in another fascinating subplot.

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