Takumi Minamino has opened up on the lack of opportunities he’s received at Liverpool amid speculation over a move to Leeds United. The 27-year-old featured 24 times last season for the Reds – scoring 10 goals and assisting one more – but only nine of those were from the start and just one start was in the Premier League.
The Japan international has been on the periphery of the Reds team ever since signing from RB Salzburg for ?7.25million in January 2020, failing to make the instant impact as the likes of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz have done since. And the forward now seems surplus to requirements at Anfield, with the club reportedly happy to sell their man for around ?17million.
Leeds face competition from the likes of Southampton – where he spent the second half of the 2020/2021 campaign on loan – and Monaco, and Minamino’s agent has spoken to all interested parties in preparation for a decision to be made. And the Reds forward has opened up about the lack of big-game opportunities at Liverpool, admitting he was motivated by ‘regret and anger’.
“Many of the games I played weren’t of interest to anyone.” Minimum told Japanese media outlet Sanspo . “Even if I left the results, there wasn’t much response. I was trying to inspire myself to prove my worth. I was doing personal training other than team training.
“I was thinking that I would leave something behind when I went to the match mentally. I felt motivated by regret and anger every day. I’ve never had this much time as a player. It was difficult to maintain the condition and connect with my feelings.
“But it was a season that seemed to have grown. It was disappointing but fulfilling. At the same time, it makes sense to play an important game and leave a result, so it is said that I got out and got a result, but I do not think it was a big deal. I want to do my best to be a player who can produce results in important games.”
Minamino worked under Jesse Marsch at RB Salzburg, performing well enough in Austria to catch the eye of Jurgen Klopp and earn a move to the Premier League. In six seasons with the Austrian Bundesliga side, the forward racked up 64 goals and 43 assists in 198 games across all competitions – equivalent to a goal or an assist every 1.85 games.
But he now has to consider his future, with the next move pivotal as the 27-year-old enters his peak years. He will travel to Qatar in the winter to play for Japan in the World Cup, but consistent minutes will be crucial if he is to go there in top form.
Leeds may move for the forward if they are to sell Raphinha this summer, with Arsenal having taken pole position in the race for the Brazilian winger. They are thought to be in direct negotiations with the winger over a move to the Emirates, swooping in on a hesitant Barcelona.