Reds beat rivals to sign Firmino for $64 million
LIVERPOOL have signed Brazilian international Roberto Firmino, with the BBC reporting the fee would be £29 million (S$64 million).
The forward, currently on duty for Brazil in the Copa America in Chile, will leave German Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. Prior to joining Hoffenheim in 2011, he played for Figueirense in his homeland.
"Liverpool Football Club are delighted to announce the signing of Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim, subject to a medical (check-up) which will take place immediately following the player's participation in Copa America 2015 for Brazil," the club said in a statement on their website.
"The 23-year-old has agreed a long-term contract with the club."
The BBC said the contract was for five years and that the fee was the second-highest ever paid by Liverpool. They shelled out £35 million for Andy Carroll in 2011.
Firmino, a gifted attacking midfielder, scored 47 goals in 151 appearances during his 41/2 years in Germany.
He has been outstanding at Hoffenheim, maturing from an exuberant teenager to team leader despite his young age and attracting the interest of several top European clubs in the process.
"The Reds have seen off serious competition from rivals in the Barclays Premier League and across Europe to make it Anfield where the goal-scoring instincts and creative flair of Firmino can continue to blossom," Liverpool said in a 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."
Versatile and skilled, Firmino can play a variety of roles in attack and midfield, and his development in the past few seasons saw him earn a first Brazil cap last year.
He has started Brazil's last two fixtures at the Copa America, scoring the winner against Venezuela in their 2-1 victory as his country advanced to the last eight of the competition.
Overall, he has scored four times in nine appearances for his country.
Following a disappointing campaign in which the club could only finish sixth in the league, Firmino is the latest player to join Liverpool in a hectic start to the summer transfer window following the departure of long-time captain Steven Gerrard.
Midfielder James Milner, striker Danny Ings and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan have all completed Bosman moves, while promising defender Joe Gomez joined the club from Charlton Athletic for £3.5 million.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS