Liverpool sign Brazil star Roberto Firmino in £29m deal
Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Brazil and Hoffenheim forward Roberto Firmino subject to a medical.
Firmino, 23, has spent the past four-and-a-half years at Hoffenheim and scored seven league goals last season.
The deal is reportedly worth £25 million, but performance-related add ons could see the final fee rise to £29 million.
It is likely to be the second largest transfer in the club's history behind the £35m signing of Andy Carroll, but manager Brendan Rodgers will be content with the level of player the club are recruiting.
"The Reds have seen off serious competition from rivals in the Barclays Premier League and across Europe to make it Anfield where the goalscoring instincts and creative flair of Firmino can continue to blossom," said a club statement. "Liverpool had been watching all along and acted fastest to put together a deal for Firmino, who will be exhibiting his mesmerising skills at Anfield from August."
WHAT TYPE OF PLAYER ARE LIVERPOOL BUYING?
Firmino can play anywhere across the front three and a deal will only heighten speculation that Raheem Sterling is set to leave the club. Doubts continue to envelope Sterling's future at the club as Manchester City apparently ponder a third bid in excess of the £40m that Liverpool have already rejected. Liverpool are holding out for £50m according to media reports, but Firmino at least provides options if Sterling is sold.
He is regarded very much as a creator as well as a scorer. According to Opta, Firmino has produced 21 assists over the past two seasons which is more than any other Brazilian in Europe's top five leagues. But his attributes do not extend solely to offensive work with his willingness to work hard in his own half of the park a natural attraction to Rodgers after being subjected to a season of Mario Balotelli failing to justify his £16m price tag.
IS THIS HOW LIVERPOOL WILL LINE UP NEXT SEASON?
Brazil's forward Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the team's second goal against Venezuela during their 2015 Copa America football championship match, at the Estadio Monumental David Arellano in Santiago, on June 21, 2015AFP
10 FACTS ABOUT FIRMINO COURTESY OF LIVERPOOL
- Firmino hails from the city of Maceio, birthplace of three-time World Cup winner Mario Zagallo, who claimed the honour twice as a player and once as a manager.
- Although he made his name at Figueirense, the attacker began his footballing journey with Clube de Regatas Brasil in his hometown and also enjoyed a stint at Tonbense FC prior to moving to Europe.
- In his one full season at Figueirense, the teenage Firmino helped his team to promotion from Serie B to the top flight of Brazilian football.
- The 23-year-old's first goal in Europe was a match-winner, as he netted for Hoffenheim in a 1-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt in April 2011.
- His fourth Bundesliga campaign saw him net an incredible 16 goals in 33 appearances, a haul that saw him recognised as Germany's 'Breakthrough of the Season' in 2013-14.
- The midfielder also put on 12 goals for his colleagues that term, a figure that took him to second place in the assists chart.
- Firmino made his first appearance for the Brazil national team against Turkey on November 12, 2014 and netted his first international goal just six days later against Austria.
- Liverpool's latest signing also boasts a clean injury record, having featured in 33 of Hoffenheim's 34 league fixtures each season for the last three years.
- The attacker is already off the mark in England, having netted for his country in a friendly meeting with Chile at the Emirates Stadium in March 2015.
- Combining his own strike tally with his assists, Firmino has been involved in 45 goals in his last 66 outings in the German top flight.