Arriving at the eleventh hour of the January transfer window, get the lowdown on Ralph Hasenhüttl’s newest arrival, Takumi Minamino.
Just over a year after arriving on Merseyside from Red Bull Salzburg, the Japan international arrives on the south coast to further bolster Southampton’s attacking options for the second half of the 2020/21 campaign.
Snapped up by Liverpool after scoring and assisting against the Reds in the Champions League last season, Minamino will now be tasked with rediscovering the full throttle performances displayed in Austria, where the 26-year-old carved a reputation with his box-to-box and effective displays in front of goal.
Equally comfortable both providing and scoring – leaving Salzburg with nine goals and 11 assists in 22 outings in 2019/20 – Minamino will offer additional attacking versatility by being able to operate centrally or out wide.
His scoring traits have long been evident, being named top scorer in the Asian Football Confederation under-16 Championship in 2010 for Cerezo Osaka.
Named J-League Rookie of the Year in 2013 following an outstanding debut season, the attacker departed for Salzburg in 2015 shortly before his 20th birthday.
Brought up to speed with the Red Bull footballing philosophy, Minamino helped Salzburg secure the domestic double in 2015, quickly engraining himself in the starting XI.
In fact, the Japan international won the Austrian Football Bundesliga six times with The Red Bulls, whilst helping the Austrian outfit reach the Europa League semi-final and Champions League involvement.
His standout performances in Europe led Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp to say: “he’s everywhere, he defends like a devil and then offensively he’s really involved.”
Brought to Anfield in January 2020 and leaving Salzburg with 50 goals in 121 appearances, Minamino made 14 appearances for the Reds to earn a Premier League winners medal.
Finding chances restricted this season, the attacker has netted four goals in 17 appearances, including one goal in the Premier League which came in the 7-0 demolition of Crystal Palace in December.
Seemingly part of Klopp’s attacking arsenal, Hasenhüttl and Southampton swooped in the dying embers of the winter transfer window to attain an explosive attacking option certain to capture the imagination of those who associate with Saints.