Newcastle reportedly want Champions League midfielder that Benitez said is ‘so good up front’ in 2016
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Newcastle reportedly want Champions League midfielder that Benitez said is 'so good up front' in 2016

Newcastle could reportedly consider a move to sign Gini Wijnaldum in the January window – and Rafa Benitez once praised his versatility in 2016.

The 31-year-old midfielder is struggling for game time under Mauricio Pochettino, and is even said to be frustrated following his move to PSG.

Of his 18 appearances, Wijnaldum has only completed 90 minutes on three separate occasions. He will have been hoping for more regular football.

Newcastle might look to take advantage. TeamTalk say the Toon are interested in bringing him back to Tyneside, ahead of the January window.

The new owners are looking to make a big-name signing. While Wijnaldum left on slightly poor terms, they would surely love to have him back.

Eddie Howe To Newcastle Is EMBARRASSING

Back in 2016, Benitez gave some rare public praise to one of his former players – raving about Wijnaldum’s versatility after working with him.

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

“Because he is so good, he can play everywhere and do well,” Benitez told the Echo in 2016. “He is so good up front because he can create, score goals.

“He is one of the players that as a manager we enjoy to coach because he has pace, he has ability, and he is happy when he’s playing really well.”

Benitez on Wijnaldum: Newcastle would be pulling off a major coup

Signing Wijnaldum gives Newcastle a much better chance of avoiding relegation under Eddie Howe, come the end of the season.

In his first game, Howe played an attacking 3-4-3 system that saw the Toon use just two central midfielders – Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock.

But realistically, Willock is a 10 and Shelvey is better with the ball at his feet – rather than putting the work in and being defensive. Wijnaldum can do it.

His work in the middle of the engine room at Liverpool saw him become crucially important at Liverpool. Wijnaldum keeps the Toon up.

Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images
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