Liverpool have announced that they have reached a deal to sign Hoffenheim's Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino, in a move that is thought to be worth £30m.
Firmino is currently with the Brazilian national team for the Copa America tournament in Chile, but upon his return he will undergo a medical with the Anfield club ahead of signing a five-year contract.
His agent, Roger Wittmann, told German newspaper Bild earlier in the month that he is moving to England, and while Manchester United originally appeared to be in the driving seat for his signature, Liverpool have pulled off a major coup in beating their rivals to his signature.
But what do we know about Firmino?
Club: 1899 Hoffenheim
Position: Attacking midfielder/forward
International record: Six caps, three goals
Firmino began his professional career in 2009 with Brazilian Serie B team Figueirense, where he made his first-team debut against Ponte Preta in a substitutes’ appearance. He would go on to make 38 appearances for the Brazilian side, scoring eight goals, before being plucked to Europe by Bundesliga side Hoffenheim in December 2010 ahead of a move when the transfer window opened on 1 January 2011.
Aged 19, Firmino made his Hoffenheim debut that month in a Bundesliga match against Mainz – again as a substitute. He didn’t score his first goal for the club until 16 April in the 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.
Watch Firmino in action here:
He would fall foul of former manager Holger Stanislawski in November 2011 when he and striker Chinedu Obasi were dropped from the first-team squad for showing up late to a training session, but was a more prominent figure in 2012/13 when he made 36 appearances for the club, scoring seven goals.
He continued to improve the following season and finished as the Bundesliga’s fourth highest goalscorers with 16 to his name, signing a new contract that runs until June 2018.
That season, he made his Brazil debut in the November friendly against Turkey, where for the third time in his career he made his debut as a substitute replacement. It would only take six days until he scored his first international goal as Firmino found the back of the net in the 2-1 win in Austria, and has since gained four more caps adding two goals to his total.
Having been with Hoffenheim for more than four years, Firmino began to catch the eye of a number of clubs across Europe, but it appears the allure of Liverpool, who have already signed four other players this summer in James Milner, Danny Ings, Adam Bogdan and Joe Gomez, means that the highly-rated forward has elected to move to Merseyside.
Independent News Service