According to a report from The Athletic, Curtis Jones’ recent emergence could have strengthened the case against a new contract for his Liverpool teammate Georginio Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum, 30, has been the subject of much uncertainty in recent weeks. This season, he has persistently been linked with an exit, despite his excellent form and the integral role he plays for Jurgen Klopp’s English champions.
The ex-Newcastle star has been linked with a move to Barcelona following Ronald Koeman’s appointment. However, the Spanish giants are not the only European heavyweight interested, with Inter Milan also linked.
Wijnaldum has been one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers this season – with only Andy Robertson clocking up more minutes than the versatile Dutchman.
In recent weeks, he has formed a formidable midfield triumvirate with Jordan Henderson and Curtis Jones. Collectively they have been in sensational form to deliver important victories against both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur.
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However, The Athletic claim that Jones’ growing stature as a first-team regular has strengthened a case for Liverpool to not offer Wijnaldum an extension with Jones the younger and more attractive long-term option.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty, Wijnaldum remains one of Liverpool’s key players this season. Not because he’s playing for a new contract, but because that’s what his mentality dictates – a top-class player at the peak of his powers in a world-class team.
Finding some common ground
The difficulty for Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards is how long Wijnaldum’s peak will last and whether the club and player can establish some common ground.
It is fair to assume that Jones’ accelerated development has made things difficult for the club.
Injuries have seen the academy graduate effortlessly establish himself as a first-team player – he is miles ahead of where the club had hoped for at the beginning of the season.
What remains certain is that Liverpool have a big decision to make. Whether the club allow Wijnaldum to leave on a free or choose to offer a longer improved deal remains to be seen.
The one guarantee that remains is that Wijnaldum’s commitment and professionalism will not waver even if his contract runs down to the final week.
It is one of the rare qualities that have seen him successfully emerge from an unproven, previously relegated player from Newcastle to a Premier League and European champion with Liverpool.
He epitomises as well as anyone the relentless mentality Klopp has successfully instilled in his players, and this might just suggest he is worth making an exception for in terms of a contract extension.
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