Liverpool miss out on signing former Takumi Minamino team-mate in second Salzburg transfer

Liverpool have missed out on RB Salzburg striker Hwang Hee-chan with the South Korean set to join sister club RB Leipzig. The Reds had been keeping tabs on the forward, who impressed their recruitment team during this season’s Champions League meetings.

While all eyes were on Erling Braut Haaland in December’s Group E showdown on match-day six, it was Hee-chan and Takumi Minamino who stole the Norwegian’s thunder.

Jurgen Klopp also interrupted Hungarian midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai’s interview in the Red Bull Arena corridor to congratulate him on his performance.

After the hard-fought victory, the Liverpool players urged Klopp to sign Minamino on the team coach and just days later the deal was done.

Hee-chan had also caught the eye in the first clash at Anfield in the Autumn and proved a real nuisance for the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

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The forward had inspired Salzburg’s comeback from 3-0 down at Anfield in October, before Mohamed Salah spared the European champions’ blushes.

According to Sky Germany, Liverpool had expressed an interest in signing Hee-chan but now he is set to switch to Leipzig.

It’s a move that has been made by several players over the years including current Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita and former goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Hee-chan is expected to cost around £9million and will help fill the void of star man and leading goalscorer Timo Werner, who is joining Chelsea.

Wolves had also shown an interest in Hee-chan with former sporting director Kevin Thelwell flying out to Austria to watch him in action against Liverpool.

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The Reds are in the market for a forward this summer and want to sign some reinforcements for Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Minamino is expected to receive more minutes between now and the end of the season following his arrival in January for £7.25m.

The break has allowed him to work on his English and he now feels more integrated in the squad.

Liverpool vice-captain James Milner believes the Japanese star could prove to be a secret weapon in the coming weeks.

“Taki has looked fantastic coming back in,” Milner told Goal.

“This period might have helped him settle in, feeling like he’s been at the club longer than he has, really.

“It’s given him that extra time to get used to things. It’s difficult coming in in the middle of a season, getting used to how a team plays.

“It’s hard to do that when you’re preparing for a game every three days.

“This period I’m sure will have helped him and hopefully he can have a positive impact.”

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