The players who could replace Georginio Wijnaldum at Liverpool
As imperative as Georginio Wijnaldum has been during Jurgen Klopp’s winning seasons in the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool, all good things must come to an end.
The Dutchman is yet to commit to a new deal at Anfield and talk of a move to Barcelona won’t go away anytime soon. And while it could hurt Liverpool fans on the surface, Wijnaldum turns 31 this year and being forced to move him could be the perfect catalyst for a mini-rebuild.
Liverpool don’t need a complete overhaul by any means but new faces are key as they transition between sides and try to stay at the top of the list. If Wijnaldum chooses to pack his bags and leave Merseyside, there are others who can fill the void. Curtis Jones proves he can possibly be the man, but to expect him to shoulder the burden alone would be naïve.
Here’s what the Reds should be watching as a replacement for Wijnaldum.
The Argentine was chased by Leeds last summer, but to no avail. A tenacious midfielder with plenty of goal threat, Rodrigo de Paul would undoubtedly refresh Liverpool’s approach play and provide more depth sting.
De Paul sits in a central midfield for Udinese and bombards forward with smart runs. His energy would match that of Wijnaldum over time, although question marks would remain on defensive areas and midfield balance.
A more balanced presence with a CV that boasts of experience in the Premier League, Brighton will struggle to keep control over Yves Bissouma in the months to come.
While perhaps not as exciting as targets like De Paul, Bissouma has proven to be invaluable in Graham Potter’s possession-based style of play. Sitting at the base of the midfielder, the 24-year-old effectively breaks down attacks and recycles the ball quickly with precise passes.
It won’t come cheap, however.
En route to France, Liverpool could find a young, long-term replacement for Boubakary Soumare.
At just 21 years old, Soumare stands the test of time and has plenty of room to develop under Klopp’s tutelage. A solid defensive presence, Soumare is averaging 2.1 long balls per game this season and is posting an 86.7% average success.
There are a lot of things to work on, but rotating with others would make it easier.
Despite being only 23 years old, Sanches’ reputation in the Premier League is already tarnished, with many associating him with dozens of misplaced passes during an ill-fated loan spell at Swansea in 2015.
He’s made a serious effort to shake that reputation since signing for Lille in 2019. Box to box and capable of playing centrally and broadly, Sanches is a serious creative force when he’s in shape and would thrive in the dynamic midfield. from Liverpool.
And while fitness could be an issue, wrapping it in cotton and rotating it with Curtis Jones could get the most out of the pair.
While Timo Werner and Kai Havertz don’t quite do justice to Bundesliga talent moving to the Premier League, Florian Neuhaus could be a shrewd and under the radar option.
The 23-year-old is useful at both ends of the pitch and completes impressive dribbles with crisp passes and a goal threat. He has scored five goals and four assists from central midfielder for Borussia Monchengladbach so far this season, and has a € 40million release clause according to reports.
Interested parties at Neuhaus are building up quickly, so Liverpool should act quickly to fend off the attraction of Bayern Munich and other top teams.