Liverpool's Takumi Minamino has completed a sensational loan move to Southampton in the dying embers of January's transfer deadline day.
The Japan international has agreed to spend the remainder of the season on the south coast as he goes in search of more game time, having struggled to break into Jürgen Klopp's plans this season.
The transfer window seemed to be drawing to a quiet close, before news broke of the Saints' pursuit of the 26-year-old with fewer than two hours remaining to seal the deal.
Having passed a last-minute medical, the 11th-hour loan move has been confirmed in a statement on Southampton's website. Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “I am very pleased to welcome Takumi to our squad for the rest of this season.
“He will help provide another good attacking option, and is importantly the right profile of player for us. This will give us some additional depth in our squad at an important time, and I am looking forward to beginning work with him on the training pitch.”
Minamino - who only joined Liverpool from RB Salzburg a year ago - has featured 17 times in all competitions this season, but has struggled for starts behind the established front three of Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
However, he has still managed four goals and two assists, and his versatility means he will give the Saints an option out wide and in attacking midfield. A lack of quality depth would have been a real concern for Hasenhuttl as his side attempt to mount a European challenge in the second half of the season.
The move has also enabled Southampton to send Shane Long out on loan to Championship promotion hopefuls Bournemouth. The Irishman has never been a regular scorer at St Mary's, but his hard work and willingness to run the channels had seen him in stay in favour over the past few seasons.
Minamino is Southampton's only arrival of the January window, while young defender Yan Valery was the second player to leave the club on deadline day. He's joined Birmingham City on loan, having been shut out of the first team picture by Kyle Walker-Peters.
Source : 90min