Southampton FC

Southampton closing on shock loan deal for Takumi Minamino

Robbie Copeland
Feb 1, 2021, 9:53 PM GMT
Southampton are closing on Minamino
Southampton are closing on Minamino | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

They have left it late, but Southampton are closing in on a deal that would bring Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino to St Mary's on loan until the end of the season.

The Saints also made an attempt to sign Neco Williams on a temporary basis earlier on in the day, only to be told no on the Wales international.

Minamino has jostled for minutes with the likes of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri behind the Reds' established front three this season, but looks to have been squeezed out of the picture for the time being.

With Diogo Jota nearing a return, Minamino's situation isn't anticipated to improve, and while Liverpool weren't actively looking to loan him out, they have not discouraged offers.

The Athletic's David Ornstein reports that Southampton have expressed an interest in the former RB Salzburg forward in the final hours of the window and are hopeful of getting the paperwork over the line in time to register him for the second half of the season.

Ornstein says the clubs are in 'advanced talks' and while the deal isn't done yet, there is believed to be a growing excitement at Southampton about adding him to their attacking ranks.

The versatile Minamino has the ability to accompany Danny Ings up front while he can also feature in a wide midfield position, making him a potentially invaluable asset to Ralph Hasenhuttl, who wants to strengthen his forward options.

The 26-year-old has found minutes difficult to come by since arriving on Merseyside, but has managed to score four times in his limited appearances this season. He netted a brace against Lincoln City in the FA Cup, as well as goals against Arsenal and Crystal Palace, but those have been his only strikes in his 31 appearances since arriving from Salzburg.

A successful loan could see him return to Anfield a rejuvenated player, ready to either challenge for starts or move on for a substantial profit on the £7.5m they paid to sign him a year ago.