Liverpool have stolen a march on their Premier League rivals by completing their first piece of January transfer business even before the window opens.
They have completed the £7.25m signing of Japan winger Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg on a four-and-a-half-year deal.
It is a major coup for Liverpool and again testimony to sporting director Michael Edwards who has gained a reputation as one of the best and most shrewd operators in the business.
Liverpool were able to exercise Minamino’s buy-out clause while also maintaining a strong relationship with Red Bull Salzburg who they met in the Champions League this season.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has always been fulsome in his praise of Edwards and their close working relationship and understanding has helped the club pull off some of the best deals and re-establish themselves as a European superpower.
Klopp said: “This is fabulous news – a wonderful signing. We are really, really happy about this.
“Our supporters have had the chance to see him close up recently so I don’t need to sing too loudly about his qualities as they are already known.
“Takumi is a very quick, very clever player, he finds space between the lines. He is brave with the ball but also brave without the ball – a proper team player. He makes the best of himself for the benefit of others.
“His Champions League experience is a big bonus and coming from the club and organisation he does, we know he’ll be well-coached, used to an elite environment and had all the right experiences.
“It is fantastic work by our football operations team in how they’ve handled this transfer. Michael Edwards and the team deserve a lot of credit.
“It’s not hard to see why Salzburg is a favoured destination for players with real talent and hunger. From our experiences dealing with, and facing, Salzburg on and off the pitch in recent months, their reputation as a benchmark modern European club will only grow.
“I’m sure all the Liverpool supporters will go out of their way to make Takumi feel at home in our amazing city and club.
“I am also pretty sure as of now we have added to our numbers of the LFC family in Japan specifically. For those who follow us now because we have one of the country’s most exciting talents, I say welcome – it’s a special club to be part of.”
Minamino, 24, has scored nine goals and provided 11 assists in 22 appearances for Salzburg this season, he played in both Champions League games against Liverpool but under new UEFA rules can play in the competition for his new club.
Minamino will join officially and be eligible to play on January 1 with Liverpool facing Everton in the third round of the FA Cup that week which may be a chance to make his debut.
Klopp’s side are already ten points clear in the Premier League but have a tough Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid in the last 16.
They are also facing injury problems in Qatar for the World Club Cup as Virgil van Dijk is ill, Fabinho is injured and they will be grateful for the January reinforcements.
Klopp has often talked about not liking the January window but after signing van Dijk two years ago and now Minamino he is clearly ready to take a different view.