There’s a chance Liverpool are selling Gini Wijnaldum this summer. If they do, the Reds will lose more than just a great player.
Rumours that Liverpool will sell Gini Wijnaldum are gathering pace. The Mirror, for one, recently said that the asking price is as low as £15m. Then Sport in Spain claims that the player is pressuring Liverpool to sanction a move to Barcelona.
With one year left on his deal, selling Wijnaldum does make sense. Even for the low fee as it could help the Reds secure Thiago from Bayern Munich.
If Liverpool go through with it, they’ll undoubtedly lose a top player. Wijnaldum is one of the best in the world at his role and it’s a fairly unique one – there aren’t many elite box-to-box players around.
Wijnaldum plays a key role in the successful Liverpool system, too.
Liverpool have a very flexible midfield and in a lot of ways, that’s the key strength. Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are all well-rounded players, rather than specialists. That allows the Reds to use them against any side effectively – if they need to press, the trio can. If they need to keep the ball, they can. If they need to sit back and keep things tight, they can.
But Wijnaldum and Henderson are also very energetic players. That means they can fill gaps all over the pitch – particularly with the full-backs.
Andy Robertson, on Wijnaldum’s side, frequently bombs on up the wing. Wijnaldum offers the cover, though, as he’s capable of staying disciplined and making sure Liverpool don’t lose their shape.
It’s a lot of work and requires a special player. The fact that Liverpool might be selling Wijnaldum comes at quite a cost, then.
Liverpool’s way of playing is the most successful in the world. It’s led to two Champions League finals, one victorious, and a Premier League title in three years. You can throw in a UEFA Super Cup, a Club World Cup, and a 97-point season for good measure, too.
But selling Wijnaldum would mean a tactical reshuffle. Liverpool couldn’t play the same way without him as the only players who can match his energy, discipline and all-around game are Henderson and James Milner. And Milner is 34 – we can’t rely on him as a starter.
Instead, it appears Thiago would replace him. He’s a different player, though. He’s far more of a playmaker and doesn’t have the same kind of energy levels. If Wijnaldum treats the entire pitch as his space, Thiago prefers to control the middle as his own.
The potential reshuffle is exciting, of course. We’d see something new after years of the same system but it’s important to remember that Liverpool would actually lose their previous way.
This wouldn’t merely be trying something new. Wijnaldum leaving would mean the previous method is gone and Liverpool would force themselves into a new era.
Perhaps the new style would be better? We don’t know. What we do know, however, is that it would have to be quite incredible to match the success of the current way.