Despite Jurgen Klopp having described Takumi Minamino as a “long-term project” upon his loan move to Southampton, Liverpool are claimed to be “open” to talks over a sale.
Minamino’s mid-season switch to St Mary’s came as a shock, with the forward having already made 17 appearances for the Reds in all competitions.
It has been a muted spell on the south coast for the Japan international, with two goals coming in 10 outings for Saints, but Ralph Hasenhuttl has expressed a desire to retain his services.
That had been expected to be on a temporary basis, but HampshireLive have now reported the possibility of a permanent move away from Liverpool.
They claim the Reds are “open to letting [him] leave,” while Minamino is “open to a return to Southampton,” however he is yet to discuss his future with his parent club.
Minamino is currently with the Japan national team, having scored twice in their 10-0 win over Myanmar on Friday, with four more fixtures to come this month.
After that he will be granted an extended holiday, though talks could take place with Liverpool while he is on leave, with a view to resolving his situation before the start of pre-season.
Given the Reds paid just £7.25 million for Minamino at the start of 2020, and he is currently contracted up to 2024, it stands to reason that the club could hope to land a sizeable profit on their No. 18.
With a potential buyer already in place, it would not be out of the realms of possibility that Liverpool could double their money on the 26-year-old.
This comes despite his quiet start to life in the Premier League, with there being clear potential in Minamino and an avid admirer in the shape of Hasenhuttl.
“He was a very lively factor in our game, in the games he played,” the Southampton manager said last month.
“He not only scored fantastic goals but his mentality and his character really fit into our team. You can see why a club like Liverpool wanted to sign him.
“He did a good job here. We gave him a chance to show up. We will have a look what happens in the summer, we will see what Liverpool want to do.
“There are discussions going on but we will have a look in the summer.”
Liverpool will be looking to move fringe players on to boost their transfer funds this summer, and it could be that Minamino is a more attractive asset than the likes of Harry Wilson and Divock Origi.