Leeds United have been dealt a blow in their bid to bring Takumi Minamino to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
That’s according to a report by Football Insider, who claim that Wolverhampton Wanderers are now leading the race to sign the Liverpool forward this summer, with the Molineux club said to have made contact with the Reds regarding a £17m move for the Japan international.
The report added that the likes of Leeds, Fulham, Southampton and AS Monaco are all keeping a close eye on the winger’s situation ahead of a potential move of their own in the coming weeks, but it is clear that Wolves now hold an advantage in a deal for the former Red Bull Salzburg star.
While it is true that Minamino has not had the impact he would have hoped for after his £7.25m move to Liverpool in January 2020 – making just 55 appearances for the Reds, with only 21 of these coming as starts – the news that Wolves are now leading the race for the 27-year-old will nevertheless have left Jesse Marsch fuming.
Indeed, over his 22 outings under the American’s management at Salzburg, the £10.8m-rated winger proved just how clinical he can be in the final third when given the chance, scoring nine goals and registering 11 assists during the 48-year-old’s stint in Austria.
Furthermore, while the £72k-per-week attacker was not afforded a great deal of first-team minutes this season, he still managed to turn in some very impressive metrics. FBRef data showed that Minamino averaged 1.45 goals, 0.88 non-penalty xG, 0.25 xA and 1.13 npxG+xA and made 30.5 pressures per 90 minutes in 2021/22.
Indeed, it is abundantly clear that, when he’s given the opportunity to impress, the Japanese forward often does so. It is also evident that Marsch is a coach who knows how to get the best out of the 27-year-old when looking at their mutual time in Salzburg.
As such, should Wolves go on to beat Leeds to the £17m signing of the player who Klopp dubbed an “outstanding” talent this summer, it would undoubtedly come as a gutting blow to the 48-year-old American. Therefore, we believe that Victor Orta simply must sanction a swoop for Minamino in the coming days.