I awoke this morning to a flurry of e-mails, all asking basically the same question, "Firmino, can it be true?" The skepticism is understandable because Everything is always The Worst, and clearly Liverpool are being used as a bargaining chip to get Manchester United to dig into those impossibly deep pockets, and snatch him out from under our noses. Then he'll score eleven billionty goals against us next season, because the world is a sad, cruel place for the Liverpool faithful, especially during transfer season.
Unless it somehow isn't.
If reports out of Brazil are to be believed (and Google translate to be trusted), Liverpool are close to signing the 23-year-old attacker, with the club and player already agreeing to terms for a 5-year deal. German outfit Hoffenheim are demanding at least €25 million to complete the transfer, a number consistent with the approximately £18 million reported last week.
The player had been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, but rumors to Liverpool have heated up in the past several days. According to his agent, Firmino is determined to play in the Premier League next season, and hey, Liverpool are in the Premier League.
In 33 appearances at Hoffenheim this season, Firmino scored 7 goals and added 10 assists. Over the last two seasons, he completed 244 dribbles, the third most in Europe's top 5 divisions, behind some guys named Messi (258) and Hazard (254). In his last outing, the Brazilian national also scored the decisive goal against Venezuela in a 2-1 win to advance to the Copa America semi-finals.
It's impossible to not start getting a wee bit excited, even though we know we absolutely should not be excited until it's official. So, Ayre, transfer committee and the rest, please make this official.