After successfully completing his medical in Boston late last week, Divock Origi was today officially announced as the Liverpool's sixth signing of the summer. The 19-year-old Belgium and Lille striker has signed a five-year deal but returns immediately to France and will spend the coming season on loan at his current club.
"I am very, very happy and delighted that a club as big as Liverpool showed interest in me," said Origi in his first interview following his signing. "For me, it was my dream to play for a big club. I always watched Liverpool on the TV when I was small and if you see players like Gerrard and Sturridge, it's exciting to know that you're going to be playing with them."
It is believed that agreeing to loan Origi back to Lille was key in getting the French club to agree a deal that could rise to £10M with all add-ons. The striker was also rumoured to prefer a return to France for the coming season, where he would be guaranteed playing time with a side hoping to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.
"This year I'll have a chance to play at the European level, so in the Europa League or Champions League," he said of his return to Lille. "It's important for me to gain a place in the team, to improve and be ready for the season after that. [Lille] also have a great coach, so it will be very helpful."
Origi fits with Liverpool's increased focus on investing in youth, and the physically gifted attacker seems a near lock to become a star for club and country. He isn't quite ready to contribute regularly for a side like Liverpool yet, but another year starting for Lille could change that, and Brendan Rodgers certainly has high hopes for the youngster.
"You see a lot of good players," said the Liverpool manager, "but this kid—for 19 years of age—he burst onto the scene at the World Cup. But we'd tracked him before that, we'd seen him as a young player playing in the youth internationals. He has everything to be word class. He's super fast, has a wonderful touch, he's a good side and is aggressive.
"I've seen enough of him over the course of the last couple of seasons to think this is a kid who, coming into the right environment, can genuinely be world class."