Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 April 2020

Who is Takumi Minamino - Liverpool's first Japanese player?

Forward impressed during Salzburg's Champions League matches against the Reds

Japanese international Takumi Minamino signed for European Champions Liverpool on Thursday for a reported fee of £7.25 million (Dh34m) from Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg.

Minamino, 24, impressed during Liverpool’s two Champions League group matches this season and is reported to have signed a four-and-a-half-year contract.

"It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player," the forward told the club website.

"And I'm so excited that the moment has come true. To play in the Premier League was one of my targets.

"I think this is the top-class league in the world; I was thinking if my career as a footballer progressed smoothly, someday I would be able to play in the Premier League.

"But I never thought I would be able to play in this team and I'm really happy about it."

Minamino scored during the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in October and will officially join the club on January 1. So who is Minamino?

• Minamino joined Salzburg from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka in 2015.

• He made 199 appearances for Salzburg, scoring 64 goals.

• He has also has earned 22 caps for Japan and scored 11 times for his nation since making his debut in 2015.

• Minamino becomes the first Japanese player for Liverpool.

• He could be available for the FA Cup third round match against Everton on January 5.

• Shinji Okazaki (Leicester), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton) and Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal and Fulham) are some of the other Japanese who have played in the Premier League.

Updated: December 19, 2019 02:56 PM

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