29 July 2014 18:02
Liverpool have completed their sixth signing of a busy close-season, landing Lille’s teenage striker Divock Origi.
The 19-year-old had long been linked with a switch to the Premier League runners-up, and he follows in the footsteps of Rickie Lambert, Emre Can, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren in heading to Anfield since the end of last term.
Belgium international Origi will return to Lille on loan for the upcoming campaign before joining up with Brendan Rodgers’ squad for the 2015-16 season.
A statement published on Liverpool’s official website revealed the club have tracked Origi’s progress since he played for Belgium’s youth team, adding that they had beaten competition from both home and abroad to finally get their man.
After completing his transfer, Origi was thrilled to have finalised his move to Anfield.
“I am very, very happy and delighted a club as big as Liverpool showed interest in me. I’m very excited,” he explained.
“I know it’s a club with a great history, great fans and a lot of great players.
“For me, Liverpool is one of the greatest clubs in the world and I’m very excited to be part of this great history.”
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, believes he has recruited a player who can become one of the best on the planet.
“For me, he can be one of the most exciting talents in world football. I genuinely believe that,” the Northern Irishman said.
“You see a lot of good players, but this kid – for 19 years of age – he burst onto the scene at the World Cup but we’d tracked him before that.
“He has everything to be world class. He’s super fast, has a wonderful touch, he’s a good size and is aggressive.
“I’ve seen enough of him over the course of the last couple of seasons to think this is a kid who, coming into the right environment, can genuinely be world class.
“He can light up world football, for sure.”
Origi moved to Lille in 2010 after coming through Genk’s youth system and enjoyed a breakthrough season in Ligue 1 last term, scoring five times in 12 top-flight starts.
His form at club level earned him a place in Belgium’s World Cup squad, and he scored once in five appearances in Brazil to help his country to the quarter-finals.