Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed the south-coast club have held fresh talks with Liverpool over keeping Takumi Minamino.
The 26-year-old was loaned out to Saints in January after failing to get the game time he wanted at Anfield. The Japan international was seen as a shrewd signing when he arrived from RB Salzburg for just £7.25m in January 2020.
Fast forward 12 months though and the attacking midfielder had managed just four Premier League starts in 19 appearances, with just one goal.
Minamino’s confidence took a hit and Jurgen Klopp decided to send the player south for more game time.
Klopp took responsibility for Minamino’s exit and claimed teams were falling over themselves to land the player on loan.
“Only thing he is lacking is a few games in a row. That was difficult here. I would have loved to have kept him. But Takumi is a long-term project here and always was. Makes sense he gets the chance to play games,” said Klopp in February.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has afforded Minamino far more game time and the playmaker scored two goals in 10 games for the club.
And the Austrian coach was impressed and wants him to stay.
Liverpool ‘not so sure what will happen’
“It is never nice for a player when you don’t end up getting the game time that you want to have, when you only train and are not see as part of the first 11,” Hasenhuttl told HampshireLive.
“The most important thing for him is that he gets a chance to play.
“We have had talks with them and they are not so sure what will happen with him because Liverpool may make some things happen in the transfer market.
“For him, it was important to play here. We gave him that chance to play and we have enjoyed having him here.”
Minamino’s future on Merseyside remains unclear. Klopp maintained the former Cerezo Osaka man was always a “long-term project” at Anfield but the fact the Reds have entered into talks may indicate his thinking has changed.