It’s been no secret Liverpool have targeted Dutch midfielder, Giorginio Wijnaldum this summer. Despite being relegated with Newcastle United last season, Wijnaldum showed enough during his first season in the Premier League, to attract the interest of top clubs around Europe.
Having started his career with Feyenoord, playing in the youth team, he became the youngest player ever to play for the club, at the age of 16 years and 148 days. Wijnaldum made over 100 appearances for Feyenoord, before he made the move to PSV Eindhoven, for a fee believed to be around £7 million. While at PSV, Wijnaldum cemented his place in the team as an attacking midfielder and scored 41 goals in 109 games, a fantastic record for a midfield player.
In the summer of 2015, Wijnaldum made the move to Newcastle United for around £15 million and scored a headed goal on his debut, at home to Southampton. He also scored 4 goals in one match, plus found the back of the net against Liverpool, Manchester United, West Ham and Tottenham. Wijnaldum’s 11 goals made him Newcastle’s top goalscorer but it wasn’t enough to prevent them from going down to the Championship.
At the age of 25, Wijnaldum has the talent to be playing at a much higher level than the Championship and a fee of around £25 million was enough to complete a transfer to Liverpool. With the transfer market as it currently is, with hugely over-inflated prices, £25 million for an attacking midfield player, who starred for a club in turmoil last season, seems like a good deal.
So what will the Dutchman bring to the Liverpool team, now that he has finally joined the Reds. Wijnaldum likes to operate in the ‘number 10’ position and is capable of making good, third-man runs into the box and finishing off chances. Wijnaldum is also capable of picking up the ball in deeper positions and dribbling with it, at pace, causing disruption in the opposition midfield and defence. Despite being 5ft 9 inches tall, Wijnaldum is a very athletic player and is more than capable of brushing off a challenge, as he makes strides towards the opponent’s penalty area. Furthermore, the Holland international knows how to finish and he has scored goals for every club he has played for in his career to date.
So, on the face of it, Wijnaldum is nearly the complete package, however, do not expect to see him chasing back hard, trying to defend for the team. This is a player who is best left to do the damage when in possession of the ball and should not be expected to win the ball back on a regular basis. This does leave the question of exactly where he will fit into the Liverpool starting XI, now that his arrived at Liverpool.
If he plays as one of the two deeper midfield players, this could leave Liverpool exposed in central areas and therefore, Wijnaldum would be better suited to playing further forward. With the likes of Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane already vying for these positions, Klopp will be leaving himself with a big selection problem. That being said, it’s better to have players pushing to earn a place in the starting XI, than a group of players who are complacent about their position in the team.
Wijnaldum may not be an automatic starter at Liverpool but he will be pushing for a place in the team every week and his performances for Newcastle, have shown him to be a player capable of doing well in the Premier League.