Liverpool have been riding on a high all season long, enjoying domestic dominance whilst eagerly anticipating an attempted defence of their European title. This stellar season has been underpinned by sublime organisation at hierarchical level, with most of Jürgen’s superstars tied down to long term deals.
The one question mark which lingers is over the future of one of Liverpool’s most influential players, Georginio Wijnaldum.
Gini, with his infectious smile and ridiculous core strength, is out of contract at the end of next season. I feel Jürgen Klopp’s side would be wise to employ the Dutch international’s services well beyond the 2020/21 campaign.
Wijnaldum, who turned twenty-nine in November, is undoubtedly in his prime footballing years, having improved during his time at Liverpool. With Klopp seemingly no longer opting for the heavy metal approach of old, Wijnaldum fits this new-age, mature and measured Liverpool side which surgically overwhelm teams in possession and work rate. Wijnaldum has proven himself as an archetypal Klopp signing — strong, quick, commanding in possession, all whilst maintaining a tireless work rate off the ball.
Not only is Wijnaldum clearly one of the most technically gifted on the pitch, he’s one of the most respected members of the squad off the pitch. He’s one of many leaders that the players look up to, evidenced by the Dutchman being named fourth in the club captain voting, only behind Virgil, Milner, and Jordan Henderson. Perhaps Wijnaldum isn’t the most vocal leader to the untrained eye, but he’s certainly commanded the respect of his fellow peers in a team brimming with stars.
Liverpool’s transfer model the past decade or so puts Wijnaldum in a peculiar situation. If there were an ideal time to sell Gini it would be now, given his contract duration reflected against his status as being at the peak of his powers. Michael Edwards & Co could fetch a hefty fee for their Dutch ace and, in turn, reinvest that haul into the next era, as the club continue to lay the framework for a seamless transition post-Klopp. With my vast footballing expertise (sarcasm), I would not recommend this approach.
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Just recently Wijnaldum posted a somewhat cryptic Instagram post stating ‘No path of life is a straight road’, sending some Liverpool supporters who had interpreted this message as a signal of departure into a frenzy. It’s been reported that Liverpool are currently in negotiations with Wijnaldum over a new deal, but they’ve reached a snag regarding the length of the contract. Understandably, Wijnaldum wants what is likely to be his last big contract to extend across multiple years, while Liverpool may consider his age a factor against such an offer.
Georginio Wijnaldum is not easily replaceable, even if we do manage to recoup upwards of fifty-million pounds for him. There is no groundswell of support to sell him, with both parties evidently keen to do a deal.
As a fan I’d love to see Wijnaldum sign a three to four year deal on improved terms, though I appreciate the business side of the club may have a different opinion. He, along with many others, is playing the best football in a Liverpool shirt.
Players of Wijnaldum’s profile aren’t easily replaceable, and ours is a somewhat underrated component in the best team in world football.
Sign that man up.