It was announced that Takumi Minamino would not stay with his Japan teammates for their final World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday against Kyrgyzstan. The reason for his absences was cited as ‘club circumstances.’ Considering the precariousness of Minamino’s future with the Reds, many took that as a sign that he was returning to Merseyside in order to complete a permanent move away.
The midfielder went on loan with Southampton for the second half of last season, and they remain at the top of the list of clubs who could end up with Minamino, should Liverpool decide to sell.
However, according to The Echo, while a transfer might indeed be in Minamino’s future, the reason for his withdrawal from the match against Kyrgyzstan was over the issue of playing time. Namely, that Minamino had already seen too much of it.
He already featured in his country’s matches against Myanmar, Tajikistan and Serbia. Japan have guaranteed themselves a spot in the World Cup final already, and so Minamino was allowed to return to his club.
Furthermore, The Echo says that a transfer away for Minamino isn’t guaranteed and that Klopp wants a pre-season with him to assess the player before making a decision. With the hole left in midfield due to Gini Wijnaldum’s move to PSG, it makes sense the Klopp would be mindful of the players he has to work with. Filling the Gini void with a player or players already at the club would be the ideal situation. It would save money and also cut back on the amount of time necessary to familiarize a new player with the Premier League and Klopp’s physically demanding style of play.
Now that Wijnaldum has officially moved to Paris, Minamino’s future is the one to watch in this summer transfer window.