MX23RW : Wednesday, June 12 21:04:57| >> :60:2659:2659:

Liverpool's Arne Slot planning to replace Darwin Nunez with Premier League striker?

Liverpool's Arne Slot to replace Darwin Nunez with PL striker?
© Reuters
Liverpool manager Arne Slot reportedly identifies a Premier League striker as a potential replacement for Darwin Nunez this summer.

Liverpool have reportedly identified a Premier League striker as a potential replacement for Darwin Nunez this summer.

Nunez joined the Reds for a club-record £85m in the summer of 2022 and has since recorded 33 goals and 17 assists in 96 appearances across all tournaments.

The 24-year-old featured regularly in Jurgen Klopp's final season at Anfield and he contributed with 18 goals and 13 assists in 54 matches, helping Liverpool win the EFL Cup and secure a third-placed finish in the Premier League.

However, Nunez - who failed to score in his last 10 appearances of the 2023-24 campaign - has been criticised having been guilty of wastefulness in front of goal which subsequently led to the striker losing his regular starting spot in the final few weeks of the season.

Nunez still has four years remaining on his contract at Anfield, but he has been linked with a possible summer switch to La Liga giants Barcelona.

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their second goal on April 14, 2024© Reuters

Slot targeting summer swoop for Watkins

According to The Sun, Liverpool have doubts over Nunez and he could make way this summer to accommodate for a top target of new manager Arne Slot.

Indeed, it is claimed that Slot is keen for Liverpool to launch a bid for Aston Villa frontman Ollie Watkins, who is admired by the newly-appointed Reds boss.

Watkins only signed a new long-term contract in October, keeping him tied to Villa Park until June 2028, and is thought to have no immediate desire to leave the club.

"I feel like this is the best place for me to play my football, I've still got a lot to achieve here," Watkins said after penning his new Villa contract.

Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring for Aston Villa against Ajax on March 14, 2024.© Reuters

Nevertheless, Liverpool are preparing to make a move for the 28-year-old, who enjoyed his best scoring season for a Villa outfit that finished fourth in the Premier League and have qualified for next season's Champions League.

Watkins scored 27 goals and provided 13 assists in 53 appearances for Villa across all competitions in 2023-24, including 19 strikes in 37 Premier League outings.

The former Brentford man, who has also been linked with Manchester United, has scored a total of 70 goals and registered 26 assists in 169 appearances for Villa since joining the club in 2020.

Watkins's impressive club form has been rewarded with an international call-up to Gareth Southgate's provisional England squad ahead of Euro 2024, and few will be surprised if he makes the official squad for this summer's tournament in Germany.

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