Arne Slot denied Liverpool reunion with winger as Feyenoord star left 'waiting' over future

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot, Yankuba Minteh during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Celtic FC and Feyenoord at Celtic Park
-Credit: (Image: Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

Liverpool head coach Arne Slot is increasingly unlikely to coach Yankuba Minteh again this upcoming season.

Minteh, 19, spent last term on loan at Feyenoord and starred under Slot, scoring 11 goals and assisting another six in 37 appearances across all competitions as the club won the Dutch Cup. The winger also debuted for The Gambia national team, adding another three goals in six senior games for the country. He only left the West African country two years ago, playing just 17 times for Danish club Odense (OB) during the previous season, finishing the year with four goals and six assists.

That form led to interest from Newcastle United last summer, who signed Minteh for £6.5 million. But the North East club have now quintupled that price thanks to Slot.

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The Athletic reported a fee of around £33 million has been agreed with Brighton and Hove Albion. Minteh discussed personal terms with the south coast club on Saturday evening after flying in from The Gambia ahead of a medical.

Liverpool were linked with the player earlier this month, but the ECHO understands the club had no interest in making a move for Minteh. It is, though, acknowledged that Slot admires the player.

The ECHO says: Liverpool could rue not acting on how highly Slot seemingly rates Minteh, judging by Brighton's opinion of the player. Completing this deal would break their transfer record for a teenager on the back of only two seasons of senior football. Joao Pedro is the player Minteh would replace and is another attacker the Reds were once linked with and had a productive first season in the Premier League. It is not a stretch to foresee Brighton selling Minteh in the future for double or even triple what they pay Newcastle this summer. Especially after being contacted by the North East club over Anthony Gordon - surely there was scope for similar conversations about Minteh.

Another of the new head coach's former players, Igor Paixao, has acknowledged similar rumours linking him with a move to Liverpool during an interview with Globo Esporte. "I only see this on social media," Paixao said. "(The fans) don't want me to leave Feyenoord, but it doesn't depend on me. Together, with my agents and the board of directors, we will decide the best path to follow.

"I’m listening and watching on social media. A lot of people are always tagging me and asking: are you going to Liverpool? I don’t know anything; I’m just waiting."

The ECHO says: Paixao has scored 21 goals and assisted another ten in 82 appearances across all competitions since arriving in Rotterdam from Coritiba in Brazil. The one-time Brazil under-23 international primarily plays as a left winger, but Slot also had him operating on the right and occasionally through the middle.

Paixao turned 24 yesterday and has reportedly received interest from Roma earlier this month, according to Corriere dello Sport. The player is said to have a price tag as low as £13 million, so he may be a shrewd signing should Liverpool struggle to land the forward they want this summer.