Darwin Nunez during the UEFA Champions League match between Ajax and Benfica at Johan Cruyff Area, Amsterdam, March 2022.

Comparing Nunez to the best U23 strikers: Haaland, Mbappe, Vlahovic…

Darwin Nunez has completed his big-money move to Liverpool this summer – but how does he compare to the best young strikers in the world?

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland have long been painted as the ‘new’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, set to dominate world football for a decade to come.

But Nunez, along with Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic, both have a right to feel that their numbers in 2021-22 mean they should be at least considered in the same breath as the two superstars.

“Darwin is a wonderful player; already really good but so much potential to get even better,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said when Nunez signed for the club.

“He is as excited by us as we are by him, which makes for a great relationship when you appreciate each other’s strengths. That is certainly the case here. He thinks we suit him and we believe he is the right fit for us – so let’s do it.

“He has all the pieces we look for. He can set a tempo, he brings energy, and he can threaten space from central and wide areas. He is aggressive and dynamic with his movement.

“That’s why it’s so exciting, to be honest. His age, his desire, his hunger to be even better than he currently is. His belief in our project and what we are looking to do as a club.”

Nunez is set to rival Haaland in the Premier League this coming season, with the North West of England also being home to the Norway international after his transfer to Manchester City.

For Vlahovic, the big move came earlier on in the year when he transferred from Fiorentina to Serie A rivals Juventus. He will be hoping he can fire them back to the summit of Italian football as the Turin side have now missed out on the title for two straight seasons.

But while all of the other three may have opted to leave their old clubs, Mbappe caused a huge stir when he decided to reject Real Madrid and stay at PSG.

Together, Mbappe, Haaland, Vlahovic and Nunez form the vanguard of a terrifyingly brilliant new era of strikers. But who is the best?

Using data from transfermarkt, we took a look at their club stats in all competitions in the 2021-22 season.

Kylian Mbappe

Games: 46
Starts: 44
Sub appearances: 2

Goals: 39
Assists: 26

Penalties scored: 5

Minutes per goal: 100.3
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 115
Minutes per goal or assist: 60.1

Erling Haaland

Games: 29
Starts: 25
Sub appearances: 4

Goals: 27
Assists: 5

Penalties scored: 8

Minutes per goal: 85.1
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 120.9
Minutes per goal or assist: 71.8

Darwin Nunez

Games: 41
Starts: 32
Sub appearances: 9

Goals: 34
Assists: 4

Penalties scored: 6

Minutes per goal: 82.9
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 100.7
Minutes per goal or assist: 74.2

Benfica's Darwin Nunez celebrates scoring their second goal of the Primeira Liga game. Estadio da Luz, April 2022.

READ: ‘A mix of Suarez & Cavani’ – 15 quotes on Liverpool signing Darwin Nunez

Dusan Vlahovic

Games: 45
Starts: 41
Sub appearances: 4

Goals: 29
Assists: 6

Penalties scored: 5

Minutes per goal: 126.8
Minutes per non-penalty goal: 153.3
Minutes per goal or assist: 105.1

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