Trying to get to the bottom of Georginio Wijnaldum’s contract situation at Liverpool has become one of the most ambiguous prospects currently unresolved at the club.
Wijnaldum, 29, was one of Liverpool’s standout players of the season during the Reds’ procession to the Premier League title last season.
He clocked up 47 appearances in all competitions, more than any other Liverpool midfielder, and missed just four league matches throughout the entirety of the 2019/20 campaign.
Approaching 30, Wijnaldum has entered the final year of his five-year deal which was signed after the Netherland’s international joined the Reds in 2016 for a £25 million fee [BBC].
Despite being one of Liverpool’s most senior players and having clocked up close to 200 appearances for the club, there has been no clear evidence in Wijnaldum coming close to agreeing on a new deal despite recent reports from The Guardian that claimed both parties had held ‘positive talks’.
This has lead to numerous reports linking Liverpool with a potential interest in Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara who is set to leave the Allianz Arena this summer.
Wijnaldum too important to lose
Even amid the Thiago rumours, Wijnaldum’s potential departure is just too much to risk and Liverpool should do whatever it takes to reach an agreement with the Netherland’s international.
When the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all endured a sustained period on the sidelines through injury, it was Wijnaldum that remained the ever-present figure in midfield.
Looking back to his best performances this season, there are a few standout showings that come to mind such as: Manchester City (H), Everton (H), Manchester United (H), Leicester City (A).
Wijnaldum is always first to intercept, win balls back, and set the tone in midfield for his team.
During Liverpool’s crucial home victory against City at Anfield, Wijnaldum produced a masterclass in the heart of Klopp’s midfield. He had a pass completion rate of 97 per cent according to WhoScored, more than any other starting player on the pitch.
It’s in the big games where Wijnaldum shines brightest. Against Atletico Madrid, it was the Dutchman’s towering header that took the tie to extra-time in what was one of the Reds’ most encouraging performances despite the defeat.
You can even look back to his best performance last season, after coming off the bench against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final to score twice and rescue the tie in arguably Anfield’s greatest ever game.
The bigger the stage, the more likely Wijnaldum is to turn up for his team. His performance levels over the previous four seasons have definitely been the most impressive across the board in midfield.
Klopp’s most trusted option
It is far more preferable for Klopp that his Liverpool side set out to control matches and dictate the tempo.
With Wijnaldum you have this in abundance as the player’s elegance on the ball coupled with his energy in midfield allows the full-backs acres of space to bomb forward.
There have been times where Wijnaldum’s exuberance in possession has taken two players out of the game at once which have been the building blocks of several counter-attacks.
Even at 29, Wijnadlum’s physical conditioning and energy levels dictate that he still has plenty of years at his brilliant best.
His ability to avoid injury and remain a durable figure for his team should not be underestimated either.
Wijnaldum alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho currently stand as Klopp’s preferred midfield base and it has been the system that has worked most effectively over the past two seasons.
With that said, if it ain’t broke why fix it?
Wijnaldum has done more than enough to justify a new deal and more importantly has certainly won supporters trust that there is no midfielder better suited in Europe to do his role more effectively than Wijnaldum himself.
Liverpool quickly need to work out an agreement to this solution as the longer the situation drags out the more likely reports will intensify that Wijnaldum could indeed leave the club.
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