Japan international Takumi Minamino will arrive at Liverpool on January 1, 2020 with a track record of winning silverware and producing clinical attacking football.
The Reds’ newest recruit, who completed a medical and sealed a long-term deal with the club at Melwood on Wednesday, is set to join the European champions after an agreement was reached with Red Bull Salzburg for his transfer.
Minamino has developed into one of the continent’s sought-after talents since moving to Austria from his homeland in 2015, catching the eye in a Salzburg team brimming with talent, as Liverpool witnessed first-hand in this season’s Champions League group stage.
Born on January 16, 1995, his football career started out at Cerezo Osaka, where he progressed from the youth ranks at the Japanese club to make 82 appearances in all competitions before Salzburg swooped to sign him days before his 20th birthday.
Minamino has helped Die Mozartstädter – a former club of current Reds Sadio Mane and Naby Keita – win the domestic championship every season since, as well as four cup triumphs.
Capable of playing anywhere across the front line and in a deeper midfield position, the nimble attacker consistently showcased his ability to pick open defences, whether through inventive dribbling, incisive passing or sheer pace.
He is a finisher, too, racking up 64 goals in all competitions for Salzburg, including a well-taken strike at Anfield in October when his new club defeated the Austrians 4-3 in a Champions League thriller.
That was one of nine he notched in the first half of 2019-20, setting him firmly on course to better his previous high of 14 in a single campaign (achieved in 2016-17 and 2018-19).
In addition to their near-total dominance of the Austrian division, Minamino has been an important figure in Salzburg’s growth on the European stage during recent seasons.
He contributed two goals when they reached the Europa League semi-finals in 2017-18 and added four more in the same competition last term.
And both the Japanese and Jesse Marsch’s team moved up another level as they entered the Champions League group stage in September, pushing European Cup holders Liverpool to a decider in Salzburg on the final matchday.
Minamino scored and provided an assist as they came from three goals down to get back on terms with the Reds at Anfield in a pulsating clash they ultimately lost narrowly and was on target again in their 4-1 victory at Genk.
He has also blossomed into a clutch player for his country, starting six of Japan’s seven games at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup – and netting in the final – as they finished runners-up, and bagging five goals in their 100 per cent start to 2022 World Cup qualifying.
And from the New Year, it will be Liverpool benefiting from the multi-functional, multi-threat Minamino, who Jürgen Klopp describes as ‘a proper team player’.
“My target is to win the Premier League and the Champions League,” says the new Reds No.18. “From the moment I’m given the chance to play I’m intending to make a contribution to this team.”