Football: who is Takumi Minamino, AS Monaco’s first transfer window recruit?

Park Chu-young has a successor. The South Korean striker, Monegask from 2008 to 2011, is no longer the only Asian player in ASM’s history. With the purchase of Takumi Minamino last week, the Principality has once again set foot in the Far East.

The Japanese international (42 caps, 17 goals) signed for 15 million euros in five deposits. At 27, the club’s first summer recruit has signed for four seasons and his new supporters are trembling with impatience at the thought of watching him play. The attacking midfielder left Liverpool where he left only good memories. He spent two and a half seasons there, interspersed with a six-month loan spell at Southampton. Luxury joker, he collected 14 goals in 55 games on the banks of the Mersey. An honorable state.

Revealed in Salzburg

Formed in Cerezo Osaka, the Nippon emerged in Salzburg. In Austria, before his first steps in Europe, he won his first titles and caused panic in the defense in the Champions League. Alongside Erling Haaland, he caught the attention of the Reds in 2019 thanks to the C1.

After a holiday in the country, he will join the Monegasque group on July 8, at the end of the internship in Portugal. In view of the 3 . he has three weeks to get back on his feete qualifying round of the Champions League (2-3 and 9 August), while his arrival in Ligue 1 raises expectations.

“He could be one of the revelations of the season”imagine Jacky Bonnevay, who knows him well. The former Gym defender (1988-91) has been implicated in its outbreak. In 2015, Vahid Halilhodzic is Japan’s coach and Bonnevay is his assistant. Together they offer Minamino, 20, his first two selections. †He is a troublemaker. He pulsates, he is unpredictable and explosive. He is very good in small spaces and his decision making is fast. I was afraid the step was too high in Liverpool, but he could withdraw from the game. He has made tremendous progress. He’s a good recruit for ASM.”

The samurai blue

In Monaco, the Samourai Blue was praised for its experience. He considers the ASM a prestigious formation and considers the game project a bull’s eye. For Philippe Troussier, Japan coach during the 2002 World Cup and connoisseur of the archipelago, Philippe Clement and the attacking midfielder are made for each other. “Clement, c’est un management rigoureux mais aussi chaleureux et humain. Avec lui, il va retrouver l’ambiance du Liverpool de Klopp. Pour donner sa pleine mesure, il est obligé d’être dans ce contexte et qu’on lui fasse to trust. “

Player “hybrid” according to Bonnevay, the native of Izumisano can thrive across the entire front of the attack. But it is in support of a goalscorer, at the heart of the game, that he expresses himself best according to those around him. “He is technically very good, takes over Troussier, who has just terminated his contract as technical director of the PVF Academy in Hanoi (Vietnam). In Japan it is used right or left. He is not a support player like a Milik. He’s one of those guys who has a tendency to go into the game and finish in front of goal. A bit like Neymar plays. But I prefer to compare him to Sadio Mane. He has to get the balls low enough. From there he turns, controls the game, passes, eliminates or takes the spaces.”

Philippe Clement remains evasive about the use of Japanese for the time being. “It will depend on the form of each player and the situations”, the Belgian clambered. He opted for a 4-2-3-1 during the first two games of preparation and likes to change the system during the game. An option that Minamino will offer him, whose profile is unique within his workforce. The pocket midfielder (1.73m) can also evolve into a two-headed attack. So he can associate it with Ben Yedder, Boadu or Volland. He can shine on a team that holds the ball or in a more direct style, as ASM did in succession last season. He knows how to find depth in the back of the defence. It’s going 2000 an hour”; adds Bonnevay.

“He has a great personality”

At the age of 27, “Taki” is at the beginning of adulthood. “He has a great personality, insists the ex-OM coach. He is a positive person and easily integrates into a group. Other Japanese are more closed. He will make the collective stronger. He is not an individualist.”

Or an innocent child. Once his bags are put down, they won’t bother him anymore “culture shock”, predicts Bonnevay.

“He has learned English and has a past. He will feel comfortable and adapt to an international club like Monaco,” Troussier point.

“If you tell him he’s not a starter, he won’t necessarily be happy, but he’s not pulling the face, takes over the former Nice. He’s not going to protest or disrupt the team.”

Private, the 2020 English champion says he is hungry. In the Principality, he wants to play every minute of every game. “He’s never really played as a starter in a major European competition. He’s a little virgin about that. advance Troussier. He needs to be more regular in the league and his tenure.”

Bonnevay plus soie: “Here we are waiting for him. He has no time to lose and has everything here to win. Compared to his debut, he takes more initiatives. It is up to him to score about 15 goals and be decisive.”

“He is not a goalscorer, but he can be more efficient”, Pants buckle. Monegasque supporters are waiting for that.

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