Brazil international Roberto Firmino is set to become Liverpool's second-most expensive signing after a £29million deal was agreed with Hoffenheim. We provide some background.
Born in Maceio, birthplace of three-time World Cup winner as player and manager Mario Zagallo, Firmino began his career in the youth team at Clube de Regatas Brasil before moving on to Figueirense.
The Brazil made his professional debut aged 17 on October 24, 2009 as a half-time substitute. He was promoted to the first-team squad permanently the following January, scored his first professional goal in May 2010. In his first full season he scored eight goals in 36 appearances as Figueirense were promoted back to Serie A after a two-year absence.
In December 2010 Firmino signed for Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. His first goal was the match-winner against Eintracht Frankfurt in April 2011. He was named Germany's breakthrough player of the season in his fourth Bundesliga campaign after 16 goals in 33 appearances.
Firmino has recorded 21 assists over the last two seasons, more than any other Brazilian in the top five European leagues. Combining his own strike tally with his assists he has been involved in 45 goals in his last 66 outings in the German top flight. Overall he scored 47 goals in 151 appearances.
Firmino made his debut for Brazil against Turkey on November 12 last year. He scored his first international goal six days later against Austria and currently has four in nine appearances, including last weekend's Copa America winner against Venezuela. He has already scored in England with a goal in the friendly against Chile at the Emirates Stadium in March.
With all the injury problems regarding Liverpool's main striker Daniel Sturridge last season the fact Firmino featured in 33 of Hoffenheim's 34 league fixtures in each of the last three seasons should offer manager Brendan Rodgers some reassurance.
If the full extent of Firmino's transfer is realised (£22million plus £7million of add-ons) he will become the club's second most expensive signing after the ill-fated £35million deal for Andy Carroll. The fact he is Brazilian will only add to the demands fans place on him.