Minamino interest underlines Japan ace’s star quality

Kuala Lumpur: Since making his debut for Cerezo Osaka in Japan’s top-flight at the tender age of 16, Takumi Minamino has rarely looked back.

Armed with an unerring eye for goal, and pace aplenty, Minamino has subsequently gone on to shine just as brightly and earn global recognition at Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg – form which has helped reinforce the belief that he remains one of Europe’s hottest properties.

With reports linking him to Liverpool currently making the back pages in England, Minamino looks to be on the verge of writing yet another glorious chapter in what is already proving to be a distinctly impressive career.

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Name: Takumi Minamino
Age: 24
Position: Forward
Club Honours
Austrian Bundesliga (5)
Austrian Cup (4)
International Honours
AFC U23 Championship 2016

Upward trajectory

Liverpool’s attempt to sign Minamino should come as no surprise given the number of goals he scored for Cerezo Osaka and the displays he has constantly produced following his move to Europe in 2015.

The energetic forward has helped Salzburg claim five top-flight titles and four Austrian Cup successes since arriving from Asia, with the full Japan international scoring nine times and registering 11 assists in 22 appearances across all competitions for his current employers this season.

UEFA Champions League spotlight

One of those strikes came against Liverpool in this season’s UEFA Champions League – a superbly taken goal which was accompanied by an astute assist for Erling Braut Haaland.

That exemplary display at Anfield was sandwiched by equally stellar performances against Belgium’s Genk and Italian heavyweights Napoli.

Despite Salzburg failing to reach the knockout stage, Minamino’s efforts did not go unnoticed, especially the dynamic partnership he forged with fellow luminary Haaland.

UAE 2019 - Final: Japan 1-3 Qatar

International prowess

After making his debut for his country’s senior team in 2015, Minamino went on to be part of the Japan squad which claimed the 2016 AFC U23 Championship title in Qatar.

Arguably though, his most noteworthy outing for the Samurai Blue came at this year’s AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates where he made a total of six appearances and scored Japan’s goal in their 3-1 loss to Qatar in the final.

What they say

“He is an outstanding player with an outstanding personality. The big clubs have been watching him and if I was them, I'd have no hesitation to sign him. Takumi is ready to make the next step in January.” Red Bull Salzburg Sport Director Christophe Freund

Photos: AFP

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