Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Japan attacking midfielder Takumi Minamino from Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.
The 24-year-old underwent a medical and agreed personal terms with the Premier League leaders on Wednesday after they triggered his £7.25m release clause.
Minamino, who will wear the No 18 shirt, told the Liverpool website: “It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player. And I’m so excited that the moment has come true.
“To play in the Premier League was one of my targets. I think this is the top-class league in the world; I was thinking if my career as a footballer progressed smoothly, someday I would be able to play in the Premier League.
“But I never thought I would be able to play in this team and I’m really happy about it. I’m looking forward to it.”
It is understood Jurgen Klopp has been impressed by how Michael Edwards, the club’s sporting director, and football operations team secured Minamino’s signing, in terms of good relationship with RB Salzburg.
“This is fabulous news – a wonderful signing. We are really, really happy about this,” Klopp added.”Takumi is a very quick, very clever player, he finds space between the lines. He is brave with the ball but also brave without the ball – a proper team player. He makes the best of himself for the benefit of others.
“It’s not hard to see why Salzburg is a favoured destination for players with real talent and hunger.
A message from @takumina0116 ðŸ™ŒðŸ”´ pic.twitter.com/vP22V5EUSN
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 19, 2019
“From our experiences dealing with, and facing, Salzburg on and off the pitch in recent months, their reputation as a benchmark modern European club will only grow.”
Minamino impressed against Liverpool in the Champions League this season, scoring at Anfield as Salzburg finished third behind the Reds and Napoli to qualify for the Europa League. He has also registered five goals and six assists in the Austrian Bundesliga this season for league leaders Salzburg.
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‘Minamino gives Liverpool more attacking quality’
Analysis from German football expert Raphael Honigstein on the latest episode of the Transfer Talk podcast…
“He’s different because he’s not comparable to any of the front three forwards they have at the moment.
“Sadio Mane is very different from Mohamed Salah and Salah is very different from Roberto Firmino. Now you add a fourth guy and you can’t really say he’s going to be a replacement for X, Y or Z but what it does give you is just a bit more attacking quality.
“What Liverpool have seen over the last year or so was that whenever you bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain he perhaps doesn’t quite have the impact as one of the front three. He’s better in midfield and Xherdan Shaqiri, for all his deft skills, doesn’t really do it consistently enough. And unless you play Divock Origi through the middle it doesn’t really work. Yes, you can swap him for Firmino, but not Mane or Salah.
“So, to have a fourth guy that you can rely on would really release the pressure on the other three rocket men up front and would allow Jurgen Klopp to rotate a little bit. It makes a lot of sense to have the fourth guy.
“I was probably expecting Liverpool to make a move for Timo Werner. He could have been the fourth guy, but it didn’t happen. Minamino is a lot cheaper but perhaps also has more value in terms of the improvement and the places he can go.
“Again, Liverpool have learned as a club that you don’t buy the finished article for £100m. You buy that’s going to be worth £50m, £60m or £100m three years down the line thanks to good coaching and thanks to playing in a team that works, and that’s really the key behind their recent successes.
“In Premier League terms, Minamino’s release clause is almost a free transfer. It’s less than £10m and you don’t get anyone inside the Premier league for that kind of money. Even when you look at Germany or France it’s incredibly cheap so even if it doesn’t work out for some reason it still wouldn’t be a problem because you’d get your money back. It’s a no-brainer of a deal in financial terms.”
‘It’s a no-brainer for Liverpool’
Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O’Connor…
“Minamino has impressed in Red Bull Salzburg’s two games against Liverpool in the Champions League. He scored at Anfield and impressed on Tuesday night over in Salzburg.
“In the current market he’s arguably worth around £20m, perhaps even more than that, but he has a release clause of £7.25m. It’s a no-brainer from Liverpool’s perspective.
“It makes sense to make the move and accelerate their interest given he is being chased by a number of Bundesliga and Serie A clubs. Manchester United are also being linked with a move as well, but at the moment, it appears Liverpool are best placed to complete a deal and look favourites to bring him to Merseyside.”
How to follow the January transfer window
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Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day’s news with The Transfer Show.