Takumi Minamino ‘ready’ for January transfer, says Christoph Freund, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Takumi Minamino ‘ready’ for January transfer, says Christoph Freund

Red Bull Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund feels Takumi Minamino is "ready" for a January transfer, ahead of reports that he is set to join Liverpool.

British media reported that the 24-year-old midfielder is on the verge of a £7.3 million (S$13.1m) move to Anfield and was due for a medical yesterday.

The Reds have been widely expected to sign the Japanese international, whom they have scouted for years and met twice in the Champions League group stage this season.

Salzburg could also lose star striker Erling Haaland in the January transfer window, and tellingly Freund thinks Minamino is more ready for a move to England next month than the Norwegian.

He told The Independent: "Haaland is... still very young, this is only his first year with Salzburg... I hope he spends many more months with us, at least until the summer...

"His situation is different to Takumi's, who has been here five years in what has been a very special story. Takumi is ready to make the next step in January."

Minamino is an attacking midfielder who can also play as a winger. He has five goals and six assists from just 11 starts in the Austrian Bundesliga, and in the Champions League, he has racked up two goals and three assists in six matches.

The Athletic reported that some Liverpool players had urged manager Juergen Klopp to sign Minamino, but by that time, a deal was apparently already in place.

Klopp has two other former Salzburg players in his ranks in Naby Keita and Sadio Mane, while Roberto Firmino and Joel Matip have also been nurtured by Salzburg's former sporting director Ralf Rangnick.

Highlighting why Minamino will be a good fit for Klopp's Liverpool, Rangnick told Sky Sports: "The style is very similar to Juergen's.

"It's proactive, it's high pressing, counter-pressing.

"Once we have won the ball, we don't want to waste any time by square passes or back passes.

"We are trying to play forward as quickly as possible, trying to create chances, trying to score as many goals as possible.

"It's definitely no coincidence that he has four former players of mine because it shows that he is, in fact, looking for the same kind of players, with the same assets, with the same mentality as we do."

Former Liverpool players Steve McManaman, Steve Nicol and Jason McAteer also seemed enthused by the prospect of Minamino joining the Reds.

Said McManaman: "I thought he was excellent in the first game against Liverpool... He was the one player who dragged Salzburg back into the game. It's an absolute no brainer really to pay that type of money for that type of talent."