Liverpool are sensible with their reported approach with midfielder Gini Wijnaldum. Even if that means missing out on what they want this summer.
The Independent recently claimed that Liverpool would like to add Thiago to their team this summer. But there’s a problem – they don’t have room in their squad.
The most obvious player to move on is Wijnaldum. His contract is up in a year, plays the same position as Thiago – albeit in a different way – and he’s not quite as vital as Jordan Henderson or Fabinho.
And yet, the same article says Liverpool have no intention of doing that right now. Instead, the current approach will see Wijnaldum finish his final year and then leave on a free.
Usually, a team wouldn’t allow that – they’d desperately try to secure a fee in the player’s final year, even for a fraction of his actual worth. Think Arsenal selling Robin van Persie, the best player in the country, to rivals Manchester United for £24m.
Liverpool, though, seem fine with losing Wijnaldum for nothing and instead getting full ‘value’ from his contract. He’s signed to play until 2021 and that’s what he’ll do.
And that’s the sensible approach – even if it means not signing Thiago.
The comfortable way
We weighed up the pros and cons of this strategy on Saturday. In the end, from a fan’s point of view, we can’t help but hope Liverpool end up with Thiago this season over Wijnaldum. It would be a real excitement boost as Liverpool head into the new season.
How would he fit in? Will Liverpool play differently? How will he affect other players? Can the champions get even better?
But as we say – that’s a fan’s point of view. From the club’s perspective, waiting things out is undoubtedly the sensible move.
It may not be if Liverpool weren’t a hugely successful team but keeping things together makes a lot of sense. There isn’t any need for a risk and instead, Jurgen Klopp can keep his team together and virtually guarantee a competitive team for next season.
Wijnaldum leaving could cause a change in system, after all. Keeping him around assures that everyone knows the way the team plays and continuity reigns supreme.
But this means no Thiago. Liverpool want him but if there’s no space, there’s no space. They could try and sell someone less important than Wijnaldum to create room but we’re not sure that works, either.
Sell someone for Thiago and there’s still a good chance Wijnaldum leaves in a year. Suddenly, Liverpool are looking for a second senior midfielder. And there’s no guarantee Thiago works out, which would leave a bad situation.
Liverpool would be down two working midfielders for a 29-year-old who doesn’t fit and in need of someone new. The whole midfield setup would falter and Henderson & Fabinho would be the only reliable, experienced players there. Depending on how Naby Keita kicks on, of course.
Now, that’s all a worst-case. But it’s a real one and one Liverpool can do without. If this were a team looking to kick on a gear, then it would perhaps be a risk worth taking.
This team are the world champions, though. Liverpool don’t need any risks right now as what they’ve got is good enough. Yes, they might miss out on Thiago but their approach with Wijnaldum guarantees invaluable consistency. That’s the luxury of success – you don’t need risks.