It seems Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side are set to tie up yet another summer signing, Georginio Wijnaldum is the man that many consider to be on his way to Melwood in a rumoured £25 million deal. The former PSV Eindhoven player had a tough and turbulent campaign last season, where he suffered relegation with Newcastle United- the Dutchman will be hoping to bounce back on a personal level at Liverpool this coming season.
Before Wijnaldum’s rather indifferent campaign at Newcastle, he starred (and captained) in a PSV Endhoven side that boasted talent such as Memphis Depay, Jetro Williems and Luuk de Jong. He made a promise with his teammate and close friend Depay, that before leaving the club, they would win the Dutch Eredivisie together- something they achieved in the 2014/15 season. Between them, they conjured up a magnificent 36 league goals, before securing moves to Manchester United and Newcastle United respectively.
Wijnaldum strikes me as a confidence kind of player. Realistically, he wasn’t getting much of that last season from a turbulent Newcastle United, who experienced a manager change and relegation in the same year. Newcastle ultimately had a manager in charge (Steve McClaren) that nboody wanted at the club. This must have caused unrest for a large percentage of the squad, whether they admit it or not. Wijnaldum will also have the opportunity to play alongside top class players at Liverpool, whereas at Newcastle, the same couldn’t be said. I believe his consistency will improve as he develops as a player, especially with the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and Daniel Sturridge in the same team.
Financially, this is a shrewd deal for Liverpool. They have greatly overspent in the past- that can’t be denied, but at £25 million, this strikes me as one of Liverpool’s most sensible transfers in the last 3-4 years, especially when you consider the departure of Jordan Ibe just recently for a staggering £15 million and the expected departures of Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli.
What is Wijnaldum’s best position and where is he expected to start for Liverpool? Wijnaldum is at his happiest when given license to attack, but many fans seem to want the Dutchman to play deeper in the midfield, rather than further up in the final third where he is more accustomed to playing. If you ask me, a fluid, interchangeable 3 man attacking force of Firmino, Coutinho and Wijnaldum behind Daniel Sturridge would terrify most Premier League defenses. Liverpool’s squad on a whole is looking extremely superior to what it has done in recent years- the likes of Danny Ings and Divock Origi can provide depth to the forward role that Daniel Sturridge occupies, whereas Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane can provide depth to the midfield roles.
Wijnaldum also boasts another surprising strength and this could have possibly been the key to Jurgen Klopp’s sheer interest in the former PSV man. He likes to cover ground, and I was shocked to find out that on average, he covered more distance per game (10.1km) than Jordan Henderson (9.7km) did last season.
Ultimately, he’s a shrewd signing. He plays the game how Jurgen Klopp likes the game to be played and he has experience of winning domestic titles. He also arrives at Anfield with a glowing reference from the former Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, who on multiple occasions has endorsed the 25 year old.