The £27m Euro 2024 striker who could dream Darwin Nunez replacement at Liverpool

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Liverpool are among the clubs said to be in for one of the most talented forwards in Germany - could he replace Darwin at Anfield?

Liverpool have fewer problems to solve this summer than many other top sides, but the future of one important player still looms large in their transfer planning – Darwin Núñez, the eternally frustrating Uruguayan striker whose febrile form and apparent falling out with Jürgen Klopp ensure that he is far from guaranteed to remain as the club’s number nine under Arne Slot.

Most likely the club and Darwin can get past the former Benfica forward deleting all Liverpool-related content from social media (the modern footballer’s equivalent of a crie de coeur) but still, given that he isn’t the Premier League’s most reliable goalscorer, there must be some temptation to either find him a new home or at least find another striker whose goals come a little more freely. And according to German tabloid Bild (more details from Sport Witness) they may have found an alternative.

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The Reds are one of five clubs named as having interest in Hoffenheim’s 21-year-old forward Maximilian Beier, who scored 16 Bundesliga goals in what proved to be his breakthrough season and earned a call-up to Germany’s Euro 2024 squad as a result. Manchester United are Bayer Leverkusen are taking a look too, apparently, as are the rather optimistic pair of Brentford and Nottingham Forest.

Would Beier be the right man to lead the Liverpool line? Quite possibly, based on the evidence of the 2023/24 season. Beier found confidence and form right from the get-go this past season, scoring six in his first eight games and seldom slowed down through the course of the year, bagging a brace against Borussia Dortmund in February and wrapping the campaign up by scoring against Bayern Munich in a 4-2 win.

The composure and audacity he demonstrates with his finishing has stood out throughout. Most of his goals came after bursting into the box at great speed and knocking the ball past the goalkeeper, but he also has some long-range crackers to his name and he doesn’t lack the nerve to try and hit the top corner from 20 or 25 yards when the opportunity presents itself. And happily, those attempts often find their mark.

His gangling frame – he’s 6’1” but has a spindliness to him that makes him seem taller - gives him a certain gracelessness but that’s a deceptive first impression. His feet are extremely quick and he is more than capable of dancing his way through tight spaces with tricks and flicks. When his pace can’t carry him off the shoulder of the last man, his impressive touch and technique makes the space to shoot for him.

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Some areas of his game still need some refinement and his passing, in particular, is poor, but his movement, speed and finishing are all he’s needed to go from respectable performances on loan in the 2.Bundesliga to the national team in the space of a single year – and if he can refine his game as he continues his development, he has the potential to become an exceptionally dangerous striker. He also has versatility, and has played both as an inside forward out on the left flank and as a number ten.

The really good news, however, is that Beier may not even cost that much – he reportedly has a €32.5m (£27.4m) release clause in his contract with Hoffenheim, which for a 21-year-old international who’s capable of bagging a double-figure haul in a big five league seems really rather cheap, which explains the lengthy queue for his signature.

Should Liverpool move on from Darwin? That’s a tricky question. On his day, he can be destructive, but on all too many occasions he can be a mess, and his wayward finishing has occasionally cost Liverpool games they can ill-afford to lose when chasing teams as good as Manchester City and Arsenal. But even if they don’t decide to find a buyer, then signing someone like Beier, who has bags of potential and who could take over as the main man up front when Darwin goes off the boil, makes rather a lot of sense.

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