Red Bull’s head of sport and development, Ralf Rangnick, has explained that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s continued use of his production line is down to the pair looking for the same type of player.
Klopp‘s tenure at Liverpool has seen him bring to Anfield three players previously signed by Rangnick – Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Joel Matip.
Mane was brought to RB Salzburg by Rangnick with Naby Keita also featuring for the Red Bull brand, while Matip signed for Schalke at the time the sporting director was in charge there.
Now, Liverpool are said to be in advanced negotiations with Salzburg to sign attacking midfielder Takumi Minamino, another who was scouted and brought to Austria by the German.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Rangnick has opened up on why Klopp has a tendency to favour players moulded in his high-pressing philosophy.
“It’s definitely no coincidence that he has four former players of mine (Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Sadio Mane and Joel Matip) because it shows that he is, in fact, looking for the same kind of players, with the same assets, with the same mentality as we do,” the 61-year-old said.
“And, I think, out of the top clubs in Europe, he’s probably the coach with the highest number of former players from us.
“He doesn’t have to thank me!”
Rangnick also highlighted how – having been crafted in his vision – Minamino is set up to succeed at Anfield if the move for the Japanese goes through.
“The style is very similar to Jurgen’s,” he said. “It’s proactive, it’s high pressing, counter-pressing. Once we have won the ball we don’t want to waste any time by square passes or back passes.
“We are trying to play forward as quickly as possible, trying to create chances, trying to score as many goals as possible.
“You could see [Minamino] was good on the ball, very technical, good mentality. He is also like many Japanese players, willing to invest in the team’s efforts to win the ball back.
“Of course he had to learn those things tactically, but his willingness and his mentality was already there. He’s not the kind of player to say, OK the other team has got the ball so, please let me know once we have the ball so I then can take part in the game again. Even at the age of 19, you could see he was a good boy.”
In other Liverpool news, it has been revealed how sporting director Michael Edwards helped the Reds beat the likes of Manchester United to opening talks with Minamino and his representatives.
It is claimed that Edwards and the other members of the club’s recruitment team had been tracking the player since 2013 while work on the deal advanced in November.
The club reportedly learned that United were interested and accelerated the deal, while also having knowledge of the release clause in Minamino’s contract with other clubs unaware.