Takumi Minamino’s last minute loan to Southampton was by far the biggest surprise of the January transfer window for Liverpool. While a loan for Minamino to see an uptick in playing time made sense, there wasn’t much talk about a loan deal happening prior to the announcement he would spend the rest of the season with the Saints two hours after the window closed.
It turns out Minamino was just as surprised as everyone else with how quickly the deal materialized. The Liverpool loanee gave some insight into the late move in an interview with Southampton’s official website today.
“It was the last day [of the transfer window], after training – around five o’clock, I think. Some guys called me, and it just happened,” said Minamino.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” he admitted, “So I was probably the most surprised of anyone when I got the call. It was a good feeling. For me it was a good opportunity, and I was getting a positive feeling. I wanted to take this chance, and I came here.”
According to the Japanese attacker, it was a chat with countryman and former Southampton defender, Maya Yoshida, that convinced him to agree to the loan move.
“Before the deal was finalized around midnight, I had around 30 minutes to chat to Maya. I asked him about the team, the manager and the players. He told me everything, he explained some positives about this team. I spoke with Maya a lot.”
The change of scenery seems to have breathed new life into the 26-year-old who was struggling to receive any meaningful playing time at Liverpool before the loan. He quickly settled in on the south coast and is enjoying his football once again.
“I feel a real positive energy from the team. I feel a good connection to the rest of the players and the manager, so I am really enjoying it here. Everyone in the team was really good and helped me. As players and as people, they were all incredible,” he says
While the atmosphere and camaraderie are great, the biggest, most meaningful change for Minamino has been seeing regular minutes after his struggles to break into the Liverpool team.
“For a football player, playing is the most important thing. Playing more is helping me to get more confidence back as a player. I want to play more; the more I am helping the team and contributing to wins, the more my confidence will grow.”
It’s really fantastic to hear that Minamino is enjoying his football at Southampton after a pretty rough go of things since his move to Liverpool last January. While he clearly hopes to use this loan to find his form and earn a bigger role upon his return to Merseyside, he is fully committed to helping the Saints move up the table during the homestretch of the 2020-21 campaign.
“I only have a few months left to help the team, but I want to work hard and use my full abilities to make sure the team do well and climb up the league as much as possible.”
“I just want to help the team by scoring and assisting as much as possible. I am an attacking player so it is my responsibility to score and assist to help the team. That is where I am focused.”