Over the past few weeks, there were whispers. Whispers Liverpool would make at least one January signing. That a player would be brought in to strengthen the side, and that it would likely be an attacking player. The question then became who.
Today, who was answered, with it appearing almost certain Liverpool would trigger 24-year-old Takumi Minamino’s £7.25M release clause after multiple journalists with ties to the club reported talks at an advanced stage and a five-year deal in the works.
Now, there is confirmation from Red Bull Salzburg, with sporting director Christoph Freund acknowledging that “there are currently discussions with Liverpool” for Minamino and saying it is “an honor which clubs are interested in our players.”
️ Christoph #Freund zum aktuellen Gerücht um Takumi #Minamino: Ich kann bestätigen, dass es aktuell Gespräche mit Liverpool gibt. Es ist eine Ehre, welche Vereine sich für unsere Spieler interessieren.— FC Red Bull Salzburg (@RedBullSalzburg) December 12, 2019
This is a deal that, if—or, as looks likely, when—it gets done has no downside for Liverpool, bringing in Salzburg’s best player in the two games played against the Reds and with stats that suggest how he played against the Reds is the norm for him.
It’s a deal to sign a player who by style of play, work-rate, and positional flexibility looks perhaps most usefully comparable to Roberto Firmino when Liverpool signed him from Hoffenheim for a fee of £29M back in the summer of 2015.
There will, perhaps, be questions as to whether Minamino has the same upside and potential Firmino did at the same stage in his career, but given how well he will fit in Jürgen Klopp’s system and the fee, this is an easy deal to get excited about.