Liverpool are close to completing their first January signing with Red Bull Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino nearing a switch to Anfield.
Minamino, the Japan international, has been targeted by the Reds following his impressive displays against Jurgen Klopp’s side in the Champions League this season.
He was especially superb during October’s clash at Anfield, both scoring and assisting in an eventual 4-3 defeat for the Austrian side.
According to The Times, Liverpool will take advantage of Minamino’s £7.25m release clause with a number of clubs around Europe also showing interest.
Meanwhile, The Athletic’s James Pearce has said Miniamino will be a Liverpool player on January 1 so long as he passes his medical.
Salzburg’s sporting director, Christoph Freund, confirmed talks with Liverpool are ongoing.
“I can confirm that there are currently discussions with Liverpool,” said Freund. “It is an honour [such] clubs are interested in our players.”
🗣️ Christoph #Freund zum aktuellen Gerücht um Takumi #Minamino: Ich kann bestätigen, dass es aktuell Gespräche mit Liverpool gibt. Es ist eine Ehre, welche Vereine sich für unsere Spieler interessieren.
— FC Red Bull Salzburg (@RedBullSalzburg) December 12, 2019
Playing alongside Hwang-Hee Chan and Erling Haaland, the 24-year-old Japan star has scored nine goals and created 11 more in 22 appearances for the Austrians this term.
Goals from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah ensured Liverpool beat Salzburg to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League on Tuesday.
They are also pushing to win their first English league title for almost 30 years as they sit eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Lifelong Reds fan Micky Quinn hailed Klopp’s current side as the best in Liverpool’s history.
“They were breathtaking [on Tuesday] night, they took my breath away,” the former Newcastle striker said on Wednesday’s Sports Breakfast.
“Liverpool hadn’t really played that well until the Merseyside derby, and then Bournemouth and then last night – their last three games were three complete performances with two clean sheets and banging in goals left, right and centre.
“I never get carried away, but I’m going to say now that this potentially could be the best Liverpool team ever.
“And I mean that.
“The way they play, the goals they score and the strength of the squad now.
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“There are lads who are frothing at the mouth to get in that team and when they’re in the team they’re taking their opportunity.
“Everybody in that squad has risen to the challenge when they’ve been asked to play. There’s a great team spirit.
“They’re not there yet; they have to prove it by winning silverware, whether that’s the Premier League or the Champions League again this year.
“They just excite me – they are a joy to watch. You tell me where there are any weaknesses!”