Liverpool will kick themselves if they move for a goalscoring midfielder having let Wijnaldum go
22 goals in 237 Liverpool appearances; 25 in 78 Netherlands appearances... are we missing out?
Seeing Georginio Wijnaldum light up the international stage once more with his free-scoring performances at the European Championship has been difficult to watch for Liverpool fans.
We at EOTK Insider imagine many of us won’t get past the heartbreak of his departure on a free transfer for some time, partly due to the fact that we’ve lost one of Jurgen Klopp’s first major signings and a key part of the dressing room.
Supporters could be due for some latent emotional trauma, however, should the club’s recruitment team decide to go in a different direction to finding a like-for-like replacement for the popular No.5.
There have been some suggestions that our lack of goal threat beyond Mo Salah and our prestigious front-three (this season gone being largely limited to the Egyptian’s efforts) should prompt a change in tack.
In Thiago Alcantara, we have an abundance of technical flair and creativity but not a goalscorer.
While we may get the occasional few from Fabinho, the Brazilian likewise serves a different, though no less crucial, purpose as part of Klopp’s first-XI.
In that sense, losing Wijnaldum has created an opportunity to embark on the next stage of Liverpool’s evolution.
Though, this would, of course, raise the question as to why we didn’t merely encourage the midfielder to revert to his more forward-minded tendencies if such a step was planned.
Having broken Marco van Basten’s (yes, THAT, Van Basten) international scoring record, albeit in 20 more games, it’s clear that the Dutchman can fulfill that kind of role when required.
This was certainly the case before Klopp moulded the former Newcastle United star into the kind of press-resistant monster we see today, with Gini registering 15 goal contributions in his first Premier League season at Anfield.
In the 2015/16 campaign, his final season for Newcastle, he’d amassed 16 goal contributions (including a whopping 11 goals) in 38 league games.
That’s not to say we’re at all suggesting Jurgen made the 30-year-old worse in any way - the player he became ultimately was an integral part of a title-winning side that secured the return of both the Champions League and Premier League to Merseyside in successive terms.
That being said, with the likes of Florian Neuhaus (16 goal contributions across all competitions this season), Rodrigo de Paul (20), Lorenzo Pellegrini (20), and several other goalscoring midfielders linked with an Anfield switch, we’ll kick ourselves (initially at least) if we do go in a different direction to a direct Wijnaldum replacement.
Of course, those behind the scenes could fairly argue that with the midfielder heading into his twilight years, a long-term replacement would have come into the conversation next summer, if not the current one, even if Gini had extended his stay with us.
At which point, signing a goalscoring midfielder would merely signal a soft transition to a new style of play rather than a potentially slapdash change.
If you’re of fan of this kind of content, all completely ad-free, then feel free to hit the subscribe button below and become an EOTK Insider. Dig into exclusive tidbits reserved only for our subscribers!