Georginio Wijnaldum has signed from Newcastle United on a five-year deal on a £25 million fee. He will be on £75k-a-week at Anfield.
His debut against AC Milan was encouraging, with some good play in the middle of the park. He played as a deep midfielder but went forward when the ball was out wide. Wijnaldum’s direct speed is exactly what Liverpool paid the fee for.
Fans will hope that the Dutchman can chip in with goals during his time at the club, and his underlying quality should show why Liverpool were right to pay the fee Newcastle demanded.
The question is not is he good enough as a player, but where will he fit in on Merseyside?
Wijnaldum possesses what is a rare skill in the game today – a burst of pace in tricky situations. He can bring the ball forward with positive runs and this will certainly benefit the likes of Emre Can and Marko Grujic, who cannot boast that same acceleration but have stability in midfield, and are accustomed to a role next to someone like Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum can play anywhere in midfield and has performed in many attacking positions in the past. This may have had an influence on why Klopp has bought him due to how well he can play in different roles, thereby giving Liverpool more options going forward in the future.
Arguably, his strongest position is in a midfield 3 or in a double pivot. While he played as a winger in his days in the Netherlands with PSV, he also played as an attacking midfielder but because of the likes of Firmino, Coutinho, and Mané slotting most smoothly into those spots, it is a strong position to try and start due to the quality and depth we have.
A 4-3-3 formation can be used with Wijnaldum, Emre Can, and Marko Grujic operating as a 3 and interchanging. The likes of Henderson, Milner and Lucas should not be forgotten either, for they have major experience in that position.
The power and drive Wijnaldum has is exceptional. It is not as though Liverpool cannot call on that aspect from elsewhere, with the likes of Emre Can, Philipe Coutinho, Sadio Mané, Divock Origi to name a few, but it is something that any manager would love. His direct runs have given him nine goals last season with them being mostly in the box.
The 4-3-3 system may suit Wijnaldum best, as it requires a balance of skill, pace, and power. Liverpool’s recent target, Dahoud from Germany, has gained a lot of interest due to his abilities in these areas. Fans seem to believe he is what Liverpool need, yet some complain about the acquisition of Gini Wijnaldum.
This is a mystery to many, because although he may not be the most cultured passer, he simply has far more attributes that are needed in midfield than Dahoud. Wijnaldum scores more goals than Dahoud in all competitions and in my opinion, he is the better player for Liverpool’s current system but due to the hefty price tag, fans do not rate him.
Lastly, if Klopp wants him, fans should support his decision because of his recent record of transfers. This deal is a really good one and notably, he is a player that rejected a Champions League team; Spurs, for The Reds. This is the type of player Klopp wants within the team, a player that has that desire and who is hungry for success brought about by continual endeavour.
Without a doubt, fans would rather watch a player who is willing to apply his trade with the club than someone who is using the club for a bigger move. It doesn’t matter what level of ability is on show either; broadly speaking. Fans want people who want to play for the badge.
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