Salzburg star Minamino signs for Liverpool, will join in January

Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
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LIVERPOOL, England — Takumi Minamino will become the first Japanese player for Liverpool.

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The Premier League leaders announced the signing of the 24-year-old Minamino on Thursday, saying he will officially join on Jan. 1

“It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player,” the Japan attacking midfielder said. “I’m so excited that the moment has come true.”

Minamino made a big impression in two games between Liverpool and Salzburg in the group stage of the Champions League this season.

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A midfielder who can also play as a forward, Minamino joined Salzburg from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka in 2015. He reportedly had a release clause of $9.5 million.

Shinji Okazaki won the Premier League title with Leicester in 2016, while Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton) and Junichi Inamoto (Arsenal and Fulham) are among other Japanese to have played in England’s top division.