Minamino: Klopp's Winter Wildcard
With the January transfer window approaching fast, not a lot of people expected Jurgen Klopp to do much business this winter. Being in the middle of the season, the January makes it very difficult for the club to acquire quality players. However, since Liverpool hardly did any business in the summer, it looks like Jurgen Klopp and hierarchy at Anfield will be getting a versatile attacker in January in the form of Takumi Minamino, who is reportedly close to signing for the Merseyside club. Minamino who impressed the Anfield faithful during the two legs of the UEFA Champions League match between Liverpool and Red Bull Salzburg was heavily scouted by the English club ever since he left Japan for Austria six years ago.
Minamino was Salzburg's standout performer in the Champions League group stage even though Erling Haaland caught all the headlines with his 8 goals. It was even reported that some senior players from the Liverpool squad that played RB Salzburg recommended the 24-year-old to Jurgen Klopp, who recently signed a contract extension to the delight of Liverpool fans.
With Liverpool signing a mega-deal with kit manufacturer Nike, the signing of this Japanese superstar not only makes footballing sense but also bodes well for their business outreach in the Asian region. Having a release clause of just €7.25 million, Liverpool will definitely be making a profit on this purchase, given that there will be a lot of shirt sales in the Eastern part of the world. As per reports, the European champions valued the Japanese national to be three times his release clause, which is why getting him at a fee below €10 million is going to be a real steal for the club.
Having good relations with the representatives at Red Bull Salzburg, it's possible only the Liverpool management knew about the information regarding the release clause. Minamino has also been linked to Manchester United who see him as an alternative to Leicester City's James Maddison. But with their rivals looking to seal the deal very soon, it looks like the Old Trafford side will have to look at some other player.
The Anfield side were craving to sign a young versatile attacker in the summer with the likes of Samuel Chukwueze, Bruno Fernandes, and Nicolas Pepe all linked to the club. Having not found the right player at the right price in August, it looks like Liverpool have now found the perfect player in Minamino. The 24-year-old can play as an attacking midfielder and can also be deployed on either of the wings. Even though Erling Haaland draws majority of the attention in this young Salzburg side, many people rate Minamino higher than the young striker.
With Liverpool currently going through an intense period of fixtures, Jurgen Klopp has quickly realized that he will need to have a great depth in the squad to compete in different competitions and cope up with the intensity that the English Premier League brings week in week out.
Having already signed former Salzburg players like Sadio Mane and Naby Keita for relatively higher prices in the past, Liverpool look to have cut the middle man and have directly signed Minamino from Salzburg, ensuring that this time they don't have to pay over the market price.
For those who don't know, Andy Robertson was the last Liverpool player who signed in the €8 million range, and fans at Anfield will be hoping that the 24-year-old Minamino has a similar impact to their Scottish full-back. Recognized for their clever transfer strategy, it looks like Michael Edwards and his team have pulled off yet another great deal here.