Takumi Minamino could now be set for an extended stay at Anfield if Sadio Mane departs Liverpool this summer.
Mane’s future has been creating headlines since last week, and it now looks as though the 30-year-old has decided to leave Liverpool.
That’s undoubtedly bad news for Liverpool for whom he continues to be a key man. But it could open the door for Minamino, who has quietly had a superb season.
The Japan international looked like he could be in-line to leave The Reds, but may now stick around to help plug the Mane shaped hole.
The case for keeping Taki
Minamino can’t be compared to Mane in any way apart from the fact that they’re both attacking players.
While Minamino is slight, technical and nimble, Mane is strong, powerful and direct. Taki does his best work in-between the lines whereas Sadio is at his best when facing defenders up and going past them.
That doesn’t mean that Minamino couldn’t be tasked with playing Mane’s central role of recent times though.
When brought to the club, the 27-year-old was thought of as more of a floating number 10. Obviously Liverpool don’t have room for a player like that and haven’t for some time.
As a result, Minamino has never really felt like he’s had a proper role in Jurgen Klopp’s set-up. But whenever he has played through the middle, that’s when he’s looked the most comfortable.
With one less player in his way for that position, maybe he could finally step into it.
Reds gear up for interest
Keeping Minamino may be easier said than done this summer. That’s because there’s already reportedly a few clubs circling him.
Those teams would surely be able to give him more game-time than he’s seen in two-and-a-half years at Liverpool. Should an acceptable offer come in for the Japanese, it would feel unfair to stand in his way.
He had an excellent season for Liverpool all things considered. Jurgen Klopp saw fit to call him ‘incredible’ via Sky Sports in March. It isn’t a surprise to see him targeted by other clubs.
However, Minamino has rejected advances in order to fight for his place in the squad before. If he feels that Mane’s impending exit will improve his chances of playing, maybe he’ll do so again.
A lot will depend on who Liverpool choose to replace Mane with. But whoever it is, it wouldn’t hurt to have a player who hit double figures last season on hand to ease the burden.