After concluding the final contractual details, FC Red Bull Salzburg are officially able to announce the signing of Takumi Minamino.
The 19-year-old attacker is joining the Red Bulls from Cerezo Osaka and has signed a contract running until 2018 (with an option of a further year). Minamino is regarded as a major talent in Japan, and he has made 62 appearances already in the Japanese J League. His former Japanese club, known to its fans as the Cherry Blossoms, has signed some international stars recently like Diegó Forlan and Cacao, but were this year relegated from the top flight after a difficult season.
FC Red Bull Salzburg have been tracking the development of the promising talent for the last year and a half. Sporting director Ralf Rangnick is delighted about the new signing, saying: “We have had our eyes on Minamino for a long time, and we are convinced that he has great potential. Playing in Europe is the next logical career step for a player like him, and we are very pleased that he would like to begin this journey with FC Red Bull Salzburg.”
The Japanese player is taking a range of performance tests today and tomorrow. He will then train with his new team-mates for the first time on Friday.
We were able to sit down before the Europa League match against Astra Giurgiu to get to know the new signing. We therefore have a short first interview with the likeable talent to present:
You are already well known in Japan, and a few big-name European clubs have taken notice of you. Why did you decide to join Red Bull Salzburg?
I have seen a few Red Bull Salzburg matches, and when I got the offer, I was extremely keen straight away! I really like the intense, attacking way that Red Bull Salzburg play football. I truly believe that I can develop my ability as best as I possibly can in this team. I am looking forward already to playing with my new team, and I hope that we can be very successful together.
What do you know about the team and the coach, Adi Hütter?
I watched the Europa League match against Astra Giurgiu at the Red Bull Arena, and it stood out for me that the coach insists on playing a very intensive style at both ends of the pitch – in attack and defence. I was impressed by the dynamic way of playing and also that there were a lot of young players appearing in the match. That is exactly the style of football that I like, and I look forward to working with Adi Hütter.
How would you describe the kind of player that you are?
I am a rather attacking type of player, and I feel the happiest as an attacking midfielder. My best virtues are probably my dribbling strength, my speed, and I try to shoot a lot. I am playing for the first time in Europe and will try to get used to the playing style of Red Bull Salzburg as quickly as possible. It will be my first year in Europe, so I will also need to get accustomed to the new culture and the people in Salzburg. I am already really looking forward to the new challenge.
A few days ago the club signed another top Asian talent. You have faced Hee-Chan Hwang already a few times in the Asian championship [under-17s]. Have you two been in contact beyond that?
I don’t know Hee-Chan personally, but we have come across each other on the pitch. He is truly a very good player, and he is quite rightfully described as one of the biggest talents in Korea. We are sure to understand one another well.
Salzburg is pleased to welcome many Japanese tourists to Mozart’s home city every year. Have you already been able to discover your new home city a little in your short time here?
I have only been able to stay for one day in Salzburg so far, unfortunately, so I have not seen much yet. I really like the city and the atmosphere though. I was impressed by the river flowing through the centre of the city and the magnificent castle. I am already looking forward to exploring Salzburg when not busy with football. Perhaps we will get a lot of the Japanese tourists coming to our matches in the future, too.