New £10 million Liverpool signing Divock Origi says that he was stunned to discover the club had been tracking his progress for several years before sealing his signature this summer.
Agreeing to a five-year contract at Anfield, the 19-year-old is coming off a breakout season with Lille, in which he scored five goals in 30 Ligue 1 appearances, with his promising form earning him a surprise call-up to the Belgian World Cup squad.
Scoring the winning-goal in his side’s 1-0 win over Russia, Origi’s performances in Brazil saw him become one of the most talked-about commodities in the transfer market, but the striker has admitted that he had no idea Liverpool had been monitoring him well before this summer.
‘Liverpool followed me for a long time,’ he told L'Equipe. ‘When I arrived in the offices there, they showed me cassettes of me in the Under-15s. Everyone knew me. I couldn't believe it.
Set to be sent back to Lille for 2014-15 on a season-long loan, Origi also revealed that club captain Steven Gerrard had told him his signing was long-awaited.
‘When I arrived, I was impressed. Steven Gerrard told me it was a shame that I wouldn't be there straight away as everyone was waiting impatiently for me. That means something. I also saw Sturridge, who was very nice.’
Now looking to push on from his impressive World Cup, the eight-time capped international has said that Brendan Rodgers has high expectations for him and is hoping to showcase his Liverpool credentials with a stellar Ligue 1 campaign.
‘He wants me to become one of the best in the world,’ he added. ‘Last year, I scored on my Ligue 1 debut before dropping out of the team a little later.
‘That pushed me to work harder. I want to play a run of games, establish myself in the team, improve and discover European competition.’