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'An artist in his mind': Arsene Wenger praises Takumi Minamino

Arsene Wenger had some notable words for Takumi Minamino on Saturday. It comes after the Japan international scored again for Southampton.

Takumi Minamino grabbed an impressive goal on Saturday. He ran in behind the Chelsea defence, composed himself, sat down a defender or two, and slotted home.

It was wonderfully done. Minamino looked like a natural goalscorer – something Liverpool haven’t really seen.

But this was his second goal in three games for Southampton. That’s encouraging, certainly.

Minamino impressed Arsene Wenger, too. The legendary manager was talking with beIN Sports and gave the 26-year-old a glowing appraisal.

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“What is very interesting for the striker’s to watch is the number of times Minamino lifts his head to see where the ‘keeper is,” said Wenger.

“I think you see twice, clearly, where he lifts his head and in a composure situation, he is composed despite the fact he’s under huge pressure.

“This guy is an artist in his mind.”

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That’s essentially the player Liverpool thought they’d signed. They paid £7.25m to RB Salzburg back in January 2020, getting someone who had previously torn them apart.

Minamino appeared to have a fantastic touch and intelligent movement – we just never really saw it. He barely played with Liverpool, of course, but when he did, he seemed overawed.

There’s still a ways to go with Southampton, too. Ralph Hasenhuttl, for instance, wants more defensive work from Minamino.

Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images

But the positive is that we’re seeing the impressive attacking work at Premier League level. That’s a great start, and hopefully the rest will follow.

Minamino will come back to Liverpool, after all. Perhaps the Reds move him on but there’s a good chance he stays. And the more positive work he puts in this season, the better that chance becomes.

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