Nunez is more flexible than Haaland, says former Almeria coach

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Darwin Nunez is “more flexible” than Erling Haaland and an ideal fit for Liverpool, according to one of his former coaches.

Nunez arrived at Liverpool from Benfica on Tuesday, where the Lisbon club confirmed the fee is £ 64 million (€ 75 million), and a further £ 21.4 million (€ 25 million) in potential additions.

The Uruguayan striker scored 34 times in 41 matches in all competitions for Benfica last season.

Meanwhile, Manchester City – who beat Liverpool by a point in a convincing Premier League title race last month – got the signing of Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund after triggering his release clause on a reported £ 51.2m. (€ 60 million).

Haaland scored a monstrous 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund over two and a half seasons in the Bundesliga, and talk has already begun about whether he or Nunez will do better in English football.

Former Almeria assistant coach David Badia worked with Nunez in the 2019-20 season in the Spanish second row, where the striker scored 16 goals in 32 league games before a transfer to Benfica of 24 million euros.

In an exclusive interview with Stats Perform, Badia said he believes Nunez is a different type of player than Haaland, and supported him to quickly settle into Liverpool’s system.

“I would not say they are similar because I think Darwin might be a little more flexible,” he said. “He is a player who can change direction a little faster than Haaland.

“Maybe Haaland is a little bit more powerful and when he starts [running] he breaks everything in front of him, but I think so [Nunez] can change direction a little faster, and for the style that Liverpool have, I think he fits better.

Badia, who has ruled Cyprus since leaving Almeria in January 2021, believes Nunez could be part of the Ballon d’Or talks during his time at Anfield.

“I think no one talked about Darwin,” he said of whether he can challenge Haaland and Kylian Mbappe in the future for the prestigious award.

“I mean, maybe in public he has not [got] marked as the other two have.

“It’s going to be a very smart move from Liverpool, because it looked like everyone was watching [at] Haaland … no one said anything about Darwin.

“But I know him, I follow him, and I knew it [club] who shall take him shall [get a] cheaper [deal]. “

Badia also outlined his first impressions of Nunez when he joined Almeria from Penarol in 2019, working as an assistant to the then head coach and former Real Madrid midfielder, Guti.

“In a few training sessions that we took … we could see it [Nunez] had something special. We saw that Almeria was [too] small for him, ”Badia added.

“Everything he did was on a different level. The execution speed was complete [different] compared to the rest of the league’s players, not just on the team in the league in the second division in Spain.

“He was a really important player for the team, also his teammates knew he wanted to go earlier, that he would not stay longer because everyone saw him in the stands.

“We knew this team was coming, the other team was coming, and then we finally knew that in a short period of time he would leave and he would continue on his way.”

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