RB Salzburg attacking midfielder Takumi Minamino is set to undergo a medical on Thursday at Liverpool ahead of his £7.25million move to Anfield in January.
According to reports, Liverpool will complete the signing of the 24-year-old on a four-and-a-half-year deal. Minamino joined RB Salzburg from Japanese side Cerezo Osaka for less than £1m in 2015.
He has scored seven goals and five assists in all competitions for the Austrian league leaders this season. He has also been prolific at the international level, netting 11 times in just 22 games for Japan following a 2015 debut against Iran.
The Japan attacking-midfielder impressed against the Reds in their two Champions League group games this season. He scored at Anfield last month and impressed despite Salzburg’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last Tuesday.
After the match, Jürgen Klopp became an admirer of Minamino and informed the club hierarchy of his intention to sign the Japanese. Minamino also helped Salzburg finished third and were knocked out in the Champions League group phase, dropping into the Europa League last-32.
If the negotiations are completed before January 1, the attacking midfielder could make his debut in the FA Cup third round Merseyside derby against Everton.
However, Minamino is unlikely to bench Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane in Liverpool considering the fact that the likes of Shodan Shaqiri, Divock Origi, and other forwards have had limited game time this season.
According to transfer experts, Minamino is arguably worth around £20m, perhaps even more than that in the current market. If Liverpool sign him, Minamino would be eligible to play for the Champions League holders in the knockout phase after UEFA scrapped a rule saying no player can appear for two different teams in the competition in the same season.
Speaking to reporters after Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Monterrey to secure a place in the Club World Cup final, Jurgen Klopp said that no update on Minamino’s transfer.
“So, I cannot speak about it – sorry! You are too early,” he told reporters. “I would have felt really good today to be honest if we could have brought him on. He’s not yet our player so we have to wait for that.”