Liverpool won Takumi Minamino transfer race because Man Utd oblivious to release clause
PREMIER LEAGUE By Mirror | December 12th 2019
Japan star Takumi Minamino will join Liverpool in January after the club agreed a £7.25m deal, subject to medical.
And Mirror Football can reveal the Reds beat Manchester United to his signature because they were aware of a clause in his contract - allowing him to leave for such a paltry figure - which their bitter Old Trafford rivals were oblivious to.
His club Salzburg extended the player’s deal to 2021 last February but crucially conceded a get-out option which allows him to leave for a big European club at a price well below his market value of £25-30m.
Liverpool in fact, have been in friendly talks with Minamino’s Austrian club for the past six weeks, after trailing the versatile player for the past two years.
And they moved swiftly this week following Salzburg's exit from the Champions League, to head off interest from a host of German and Italian clubs, including Bundesliga leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach and AC Milan, who ironically watched him this week against Liverpool.
The Reds, though, had thrashed out the deal by then, after amicable talks with the Red Bull-sponsored club, with whom they have built a close relationship.
That stole a march on United, who saw him as an alternative to James Maddison, and have been scouting the Japanese international for several months.
But it was the information on the contract release clause which gave Liverpool the edge, for a 24-year-old player who has scored 11 goals in 22 games for his country, and five in his last four World Cup qualifying games. He will undergo a medical in the coming weeks, and will also discuss personal terms. But it is understood the highly-rated attacking player is honoured that the current European champions want him, and is ready to sign.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is a big fan, admitting as much after his side played the Austrians in the group stage of the Champions League this season, and he sees him as an exciting prospect who will get a lot of Premier League game time in the second half of the season.
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