It’s just as well Liverpool didn’t sell Gini Wijnaldum in the summer. At the time, It was a divisive topic, with it being the last real opportunity for the Reds to cash in the Dutchman before his contract expires. Despite the addition of Thiago, the former Newcastle midfielder stayed at Anfield. But now, as we near December, he’s the only midfielder Jurgen Klopp has been able to rely on with all of the others have suffering various injuries.
Part of Wijnaldum’s appeal is that he’s so robust. It’s rare that he misses a game through injury and that seems to be overlooked and underappreciated in the modern game. There have been rumours that Liverpool have offered their No.5 a new, bumper deal. These reports originate in Italy and are yet to be confirmed by any of the English media. He could extend his stay on Merseyside, but, even if he does, there needs to be plans in place for how he’s eventually replaced.
Granted, he may have only just turned 30, there are a lot of minutes in those legs and he’s going to be managed moving forward in order to extend his career. You see it sometimes when a player looks as fit as ever and then, in the blink of an eye, they look old.
Given the midfield is such a key area for Liverpool, they really can’t afford for that to happen. Finding a replacement for Wijnaldum, however, isn’t going to be easy.
As detailed in the Marginal Pains newsletter, the Dutchman is an all-rounder who can flip-flop between goal threat and counterweight depending on the situation. Midfielders are usually either-or, and very rarely both. Though Klopp tends to use him as the latter, the fact he’s able to be deployed as the former gives the German tactician options. Options he wouldn’t otherwise have.
So anyone brought in to replace Wijnaldum would have to be multifunctional. They’d have to know when to play it safe and when to be adventurous. They’re going to have to sacrifice parts of their game for the benefit of the collective.