After a frugal summer of spending so far, Liverpool splashed the cash on Wednesday as they confirmed a $45 million deal for Hoffenheim striker Roberto Firmino.
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Firmino, 23, is currently on international duty with Brazil at the Copa America in Chile where Liverpool’s representatives watched him score the winning goal against Venezuela last Sunday. He still has to pass a medical before completing his move to the Merseyside club but has already agreed a five-year contract.
The attacker, who can play as a lone striker, on the wing or in the No. 10 role, has spent the last four-and-a-half seasons in the Bundesliga and racked up 47 goals in 151 appearances for Hoffenheim.
Liverpool’s chief executive Ian Ayre flew to Chile on Tuesday to tie up the deal, ahead of Firmino and Brazil squaring off against Paraguay in a Copa America quarterfinal on Saturday.
Firmino’s creativity will also suit the Reds’ style of play well, as he has 21 assists to his name over the past two seasons at Hoffenheim. That’s more than any other Brazilian player in Europe’s top five leagues. In just nine games for the Brazilian national team he has scored four times and alongside countryman Philippe Coutinho and the likes of Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge, Brendan Rodgers will have a plethora of top-class attackers to choose from next season.
The signing of Firmino is certainly a coup for the Anfield club, as bitter rivals Manchester United were also interested in acquiring his services. But, Firmino’s arrival does raise plenty of question marks surrounding the future of Raheem Sterling at Liverpool as Manchester City are said to be readying a third and final offer of $75 million for the speedy winger.
An initial fee of $38 million will be paid for Firmino with add-ons taking the deal past $45 million, which make him the second most-expensive signing in club history behind the $50 million signing of Andy Carroll in 2012. Firmino joins James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and Joe Gomez as Liverpool’s fifth signing of a busy summer so far.