Lazio want Takumi Minamino; plot bid for Japanese forward in the summer

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By Martin Graham | 19th May 2022

Calciomercato reports that Lazio have an interest in 27-year-old Japanese attacker Takumi Minamino who is currently at Liverpool.

Minamino joined The Reds in 2020 after impressing with the famous Red Bull Salzburg team that announced themselves to the world in the UEFA Champions League in the 2018/19 season.

He joined the squad as a backup option and has been excellent in the role too. This season, he has scored 10 goals in 24 appearances for Liverpool, with most of those appearances off the bench for both Cup competitions and the Premier League.

He is, in fact, Liverpool’s top scorer in both the FA Cup (four goals in five games) and Carabao Cup (three goals in four games) competitions, both of which Liverpool won, making him their most important player in those tournaments this season.

But at 27, the Japanese international may not be comfortable being used as a squad option anymore and Lazio are reportedly monitoring him for this reason. Minamino is competing with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino (both could also leave Liverpool this summer), Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz for a starting berth in the Reds attack.

If he decides to leave and Lazio get a hold of him, he will walk straight into their attack with veteran forward Pedro Rodriguez in the last year of his Lazio contract and unlikely to remain at the club beyond then.

Klopp apologises to Minamino for squad role

Jurgen Klopp recently praised Minamino for his dedication to Liverpool and his total acceptance of his role in the squad.

Minamino started a rare Premier League game for Liverpool against Southampton on Tuesday as Klopp rested his squad following the FA Cup final and ahead of the trip to France for the UEFA Champions League final.

He got the equalising goal against the Saints at the Saint Mary’s Stadium, where he spent half of last season on loan. Liverpool went on to win the match with their second-string side, and Minamino was a big part of that victory.

“It’s a crime! I apologise! Crazy! People ask me if it’s hard to pick a line-up,” he answered reporters who asked why Minamino and some others do not get a steady run of games in the team. “No, that’s fine. I love it! I have options. Today we could have lined up differently, but we really liked it.

“Takumi Minamino, it’s a crime he’s not playing more often. It’s really tough for the boys but whatever happens this year, happened because of this group. It’s exceptional, and tonight they showed that again.”

Minamino is valued at €12 million and at the time of writing, is only being courted by Lazio.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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