The latest news surrounding Georginio Wijnaldum is that his Liverpool future is very much up in the air.
In a recent Q&A with James Pearce on The Athletic, I asked the journalist whether Liverpool’s game vs Newcastle could have been the Dutchman’s last in a Reds shirt.
I noted the constant links between Liverpool and Thiago of Bayern Munich, as well as the fact that the likes of Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott have recently penned new deals, while Wijnaldum has not, as possible hints that he could be on his way out.
Pearce replied, claiming that “uncertainty continues over Wijnaldum’s future.
“Getting Jones/Elliott contracts done very different as they are on more modest salaries and contract length wasn’t an issue.
“If it’s not resolved soon then they’ll have to decide whether to sell Wijnaldum or keep him like they did with Emre Can knowing he will probably leave for nothing next summer.”
Essentially, the longer Wijnaldum goes without signing a new contract, the greater the possibility is of Liverpool selling him this summer.
Liverpool’s links to Thiago are strange considering that his age and injury history do not fit in with the club’s recruitment strategy. There is also the fact that Liverpool have great depth at centre-midfield, so any money the club has would be better spent elsewhere.
However, the links will not go away.
A move for the Spaniard seems much more likely if Wijnaldum was to leave. It would be a direct replacement, both positionally and in terms of experience.
So perhaps there are legs to these rumours. The fact that a reliable journalist like Pearce has acknowledged that an exit is possible certainly adds fuel to the fire.
Where would Wijnaldum go?
Wijnaldum is a Premier League, Champions League and Club World Cup winner. He will go down in history as a Liverpool great.
His two-goal performance against Barcelona has undoubtedly helped cement this status, but could Wijnaldum join the side he knocked out of the 2018/19 Champions League?
The Catalans are in bad need of some characters in their squad. It is clear that there is a very weak mentality in the Camp Nou dressing room. Recent European meltdowns have proved this fact.
Wijnaldum is one of Jurgen Klopp’s “mentality monsters”. He has proved this a number of times over the years. He comes up with massive goals when they are needed most.
His playing style would also suit Barcelona perfectly. He is fantastic on the ball and never loses possession. He is used to playing in a 4-3-3, which is the traditional Barca formation.
There is also the fact that he is Dutch. The Johan Cruyff-inspired link between Holland and Barcelona is a well-known one.
Wijnaldum ticks so many of Barcelona’s boxes but there is one reason that this move may not happen.
At 29, Wijnaldum would add to the list of ageing Barca midfielders. They have already added Miralem Pjanic to Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal this year. It is clear that they need some younger players in the middle of the park.
However, it would make sense to sell Vidal and Rakitic to bring in Wijnaldum, as he just seems perfect for the club.
A swap with ex-Barca man Thiago would also make sense. Two 29-year-olds who want one last challenge and two clubs who would need to replace them.
Finally, it would be very easy to picture Wijnaldum playing in Serie A. Juventus, and in particular, Inter Milan, would both be great fits.
If Gini Wijnaldum does leave Merseyside, it will be as a Liverpool legend. Perhaps the time is just right for him to do so.