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Opinion: Reported stance confirms Thiago is to replace Gini Wijnaldum

It appears Thiago really is the one to replace Gini Wijnaldum. Liverpool won’t deliberately target another midfielder, according to reports.

The Liverpool Echo claims Liverpool won’t go all-out to sign a midfielder this summer. They still could and are looking at targets, but there’s no burning desire to.

In fact, the report says they likely won’t sign any midfielders unless another one leaves. That’s quite notable as one midfielder is leaving at the end of the month.

So with this report comes an apparent confirmation – Thiago will replace Gini Wijnaldum.

Thiago to replace Wijnaldum

We’ve long suspected that Thiago was supposed to form a midfield trio with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho last season. They only got to form that combination once, however – the Merseyside derby at Everton.

Injuries that day ended those plans. Thiago wouldn’t play again for months, while Fabinho became a centre-back. Henderson would experience both outcomes later in the season, too.

But we believe £20m Thiago would have relegated Wijnaldum to a squad role. Instead, the Dutchman would become the most regular member of the Reds’ midfield as the only one who could stay fit.

Raphinha, Coutinho and Tielemans: The signings Liverpool could make this summer

Essentially, though, Liverpool replaced Wijnaldum as a first-choice midfielder a year ago. That’s Thiago’s role and it’s the one he’ll take on next season.

There was always a chance that Wijnaldum left last summer, after all. Barcelona supposedly wanted him and hoped to pay around £10m.

Liverpool decided not to sell, of course, and stuck with him for the entirety of his contract. It turned out to be a season-saving decision. If he had left, though, Thiago was clearly the replacement.

Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

But while it was the right choice, it certainly wasn’t planned. Thiago is now the go-to in midfield and replaces Wijnaldum in that regard – just a year later than thought.

Could Liverpool sign anyone new?

We still think the Reds will move for someone. While Thiago is a first-choice player, he’s very different to Wijnaldum.

Signing a more energetic, defensive-minded midfielder would make some sense. There will be games where Jurgen Klopp wants that extra security in midfield – at least as an option off the bench.

We’ll likely have to wait and see on that one, though. At least until the market opens up after Euro 2020 and the Copa America. The specific needs of the squad suggest it’ll be an ‘if’ rather than ‘when’, though.

The right player needs to be there, now. There’s no great necessity thank to Thiago.

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