Diogo Jota is officially a Liverpool player and it’s an arrival that should benefit Takumi Minamino. The Japanese international can now thrive.
Liverpool confirmed Jota on Saturday, making him their third signing this summer. He arrives for £41m that could rise to £45 with add-ons on a five-year contract, per the BBC.
It’s undoubtedly an exciting signing. Jota is still only 23 but has two years of Premier League experience. He’s bagged 16 goals in that time, primarily from the wing, but can play centrally, too.
It all just makes sense. He fits the profile of a Liverpool player and has enormous potential under Jurgen Klopp. But he’s not the only one who could benefit from the deal.
Minamino should be thrilled with Jota. Especially given the reported alternative of Ismaila Sarr. The Liverpool Echo reported last month that the Reds wanted the Watford man – and that wouldn’t have suited Minamino.
Sarr primarily plays from the right but also features centrally. In fact, we imagine that signing would have led to lots of Sarr playing down the middle and, importantly, leaving Liverpool without cover on the left.
Minamino would then have had to pick up the slack there, along with Divock Origi. And as Origi hasn’t played well for some time, the onus may well have been on the Japanese international to cover Sadio Mane.
But Jota primarily plays from the left, although he too can play in the middle. But the fact that he’s obvious cover on that side means Minamino can focus elsewhere.
And that’s an exciting prospect because we see him as another Roberto Firmino. Minamino is a fantastically mobile player and one who seems perfectly suited to the ‘False 9’ role. Liverpool have never had proper cover for Firmino but they may now have it.
But he’s also great from the right.
Minamino isn’t a modern right-winger, in that he’s not looking to cut inside and drive towards goal. He offers an entirely different approach to Mohamed Salah, who very much is just that.
Minamino, instead, looks to drift into spaces and link play – another potential advantage for Liverpool in that it allows them completely new options. He’s got an obvious partnership with Trent Alexander-Arnold on that flank, for instance, with the full-back looking to hit the line.
Movement in front of him helps that, which Minamino will offer. But from the left, he’s more inclined to cut in on his right foot all the time, meaning he plays more like a standard winger. He’s not going to look to hit the line and cross on his weaker foot, after all.
But Jota arriving means Minamino can focus on playing centrally and from the right. We see them as his two best roles and the ones that will see him thrive.