Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has insisted that he is ruling nothing out as regards Liverpool loanee Takumi Minamino’s future.
The Japan international left Anfield in the January transfer window after struggling for game time. He had arrived as an exciting signing last January and made a good impression in his first half-season. But after netting in the 7-0 win over Crystal Palace in December, he failed to get another look in.
Indeed, he endured a similar fate to that which Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri are going through; Reds boss Jurgen Klopp’s lack of stability this term due to injuries has seen him play safe.
Nevertheless, Minamino has impressed on the south coast. He has made nine Premier League appearances, scoring two goals in his first three games.
As he approaches the end of his loan spell with the Saints’ end-of-season clash with West Ham, Hasenhuttl faced questions about his plans for the attacker.
“He was a very lively factor in our game for the matches he played,” the manager said.
“He did a good job here. We gave him a chance to show up, that he is able to compete in the Premier League.
“We will have a look what happens in the summer, what Liverpool wants to do.
“There are discussions going on, but there is no decision taken so far.”
Klopp insisted shortly after Minamino’s departure that the forward has a long-term future at Anfield.
Meanwhile, Hasenhuttl confirmed his team news for Sunday’s clash with the Hammers elsewhere in his pre-match press conference.
Hasenhuttl offers team news update
Che Adams will miss the final game of the Premier League campaign with a groin injury. However, the Scotland international will be eligible for his country’s Euro 2020 campaign.
“Che cannot play on the weekend because he has a small groin injury, so he will also definitely be out.
“No [it is not a serious problem], it is five to 10 days, so his chance for the weekend is a small one.
“But we didn’t take the risk because we know he has the Euros coming up, which for him is a big tournament and I think it’s not a big issue for him.”
Southampton, who sit 14th in the table, can finish as high as 12th if they win and results go their way.
However, the final-day permutations are much bigger for sixth-placed West Ham.