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Atalanta are new contenders for the signature of Liverpool fringe player Takumi Minamino, if reports in Italy are to be believed.
Minamino looks likely to be on his way out of Anfield this summer. Liverpool will not stand in his way, as long as their asking price of around £17m is met. They would be making a profit on the man they signed from RB Salzburg in 2020.
A few clubs have been linked with the attacking midfielder. He could stay in the Premier League with someone like Leeds or Wolves, for example.
But there is competition for his services from the continent, where Monaco are reportedly leading the race.
While acknowledging this, though, Gazzetta Dello Sport have revealed that Atalanta are in the frame as another potential taker for the Japan international.
The Serie A side have been punching above their weight in recent seasons. In 2021-22, though, they fell out of the European places, finishing eighth. Now, they will be looking to make small changes to their squad to help them grow again.
With that in mind, they recently appointed a new head of recruitment. The new employee, Lee Congerton, is a Welshman who has plenty of experience of the Premier League market.
Indeed, Congerton used to work for clubs like Sunderland and Leicester City. Going further back, he was once an assistant manager for, coincidentally, Liverpool.
Now, he could be preparing an approach to the Reds for Minamino. The approximate €20m asking price is within reach for Atalanta, who may however have to go slightly above their usual comfort zone for his reported £75,000-per-week wages.
As things stand, Monaco retain the advantage for the 27-year-old. There is also the aforementioned competition from Leeds and Wolves, as well as Southampton – who had him on loan for a brief spell in 2021.
But Atalanta will be watching on and contemplating their own pursuit of the forward.
Time right for Minamino to move on
Where exactly Minamino ends up this summer remains to be seen. But it definitely does feel like his chance to make it with Liverpool is over.
Jurgen Klopp can now call upon Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Fabio Carvalho in the final third. Minamino stands little chance of getting gametime at Anfield.
Indeed, he has never been a regular starter for the club. Hence, their hopes of attaining a transfer windfall more than double what they spent on him may be fanciful.
But Liverpool have been smart in the transfer market in recent years. Therefore, they may just be able to persuade someone like Atalanta to pay up.
At the age of 27, it would then be time for Minamino to prove himself elsewhere throughout his prime years.
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