Liverpool must replace Gini Wijnaldum this summer as the Dutchman’s contract expires. Doing so, however, reportedly means a difficult choice.
How do you effectively replace Gini Wijnaldum? He’s been a key player at Liverpool for years now and a fairly unique one.
Wijnaldum is capable of playing every style you can think of, while he’s versatile enough to play anywhere in midfield. Those players aren’t easy to find.
That’s a problem, too, as Liverpool effectively depend on them. Jurgen Klopp has build a team that needs a pragmatic midfield.
If they need to maintain possession, they can. If they have to sit deep and counter-attack, they’re good at that, too. They’re all capable of pressing, winning tackles and playing physically in midfield.
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At the same time, they can push forward and get in and around the box. Then there’s one of their most important jobs – covering runs from the full-backs.
Wijnaldum, along with Jordan Henderson, has epitomised this approach. He does a bit of everything, depending on what Liverpool need there and then.
But as his contract expires, Liverpool need to replace him.
How to replace Gini Wijnaldum
There appear to be two contenders, here – Yves Bissouma and Florian Neuhaus.
Now, we can’t imagine the Reds want both. The finances don’t add up.
Liverpool only need to replace one first-team player in Wijnaldum – they don’t need two players to do that. Perhaps Liverpool want to go all-out but with problems in attack and defence, it makes little sense to spend so much on one area.
Thus we imagine the Reds will choose between Bissouma and Neuhaus. Both offer intriguing talents.
As we’ve said before, Neuhaus may offer the best chance at an all-action, capable-of-everything midfield. He might be a star in the making.
But he’d be a risk. He’s never played in England, for instance, and we’ve seen how certain players don’t adapt. Naby Keita is a fine example of that.
Neuhaus may also be a star and Liverpool don’t necessarily want that. On that face of it, that’s a strange thing to say but the Reds built their success on a midfield that sacrifices itself for the team.
We know Wijnaldum scores goals as he regularly does it for the Netherlands. But he takes a step back in Red, playing that more pragmatic game.
Maybe Bissouma is the safe option, then. He’s an incredibly solid, hard-working midfielder who consistently does the dirty work.
On top of that, we know he excels in English football.
At the end of the day, we’d love to have wither replace Wijnaldum. But that makes this a tough decision for Liverpool and at £40m, one they won’t want to get wrong.