The identity of Gini Wijnaldum's replacement 🤔🔎

Guess who?

We’re getting to that pre-transfer window stage where we’ve almost accumulated enough linked names to fill out a couple of rows of tiles on a Guess Who board. That’s just in the midfield position - by the end of the summer window, we’d expect the whole thing to be full.

Does he come from the Premier League?

Is he injury-prone?

Is he press-resistant?

We can knock down a certain number of the more outrageous “tiles” already but we’re still working against a player who refuses to play along.

Liverpool football club has been a tightly run ship for many years now; a Fort Knox not even James Bond, let alone James Pearce, can penetrate of late.

That is of course assuming The Athletic journalist’s claim that Jurgen Klopp is perfectly happy with his current midfield options, despite having lost an integral (and perhaps the most reliable) part of his squad, isn’t on the money.

We’ve thoroughly exhausted staring gormlessly at our phones following that update.

Of course, one does have to take such sweeping statements with more than a pinch of salt considering how prior summer windows have unfolded.

Few, after all, were aware of our interest in Diogo Jota and Thiago Alcantara much before the club swooped in and secured their targets.

Let’s not forget either just how injury prone the likes of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are and that’s before considering starter, and captain, Jordan Henderson’s record in that department either.

As such, Liverpool are highly unlikely to go through the window without investing in a new midfielder.

Committing to an eventuality where new signings beyond Ibrahima Konate grace Anfield, who then are the tiles we’re keeping upright on our figurative Guess Who board?

Picking a handful of some of the more likely linked names, we can begin with Rodrigo de Paul - Udinese’s goalscoring midfield maestro.

The Argentine has registered a whopping 19 goal contributions in the Serie A this season and looks the kind of player who’d be a lot of fun in the English top-flight.

At 27-years-old, however, we have to question just how right a fit he is for our recruitment team.

Considering that Gini Wijnaldum was brought in at the age of 25 in 2016, we’d imagine that Klopp will be somewhat consistent in that regard and look to bring in a player of a similar age group.

Let’s knock that tile down, for now at least.

Let’s skip Italy and make way to Germany and, more specifically, Borussia Mönchengladbach, where Florian Neuhaus currently plies his trade.

According to recent reports, the former 1860 Munich starlet has agreed to move to Bayern Munich after one final season with his current club next year.

We should take solace from the fact that these are simply rumours, not to mention the player’s comments about speculation prior to the above claim being made.

“I read that my move to FC Bayern in 2022 was already a done deal. I can clearly deny that here and now,” the 24-year-old told TZ.

“I haven't signed a contract anywhere except with Borussia Mönchengladbach. I feel very much at home there at the moment.

The German did clarify that he could be tempted to make a move in future, though his added comments certainly aren’t encouraging in terms of a potential switch to Merseyside.

“Home is a very important point for me. I can well imagine living in Markt Kaufering again later,” Neuhaus said.

“But I also found a piece of home in Dusseldorf, where I met my girlfriend, and I feel very comfortable at Gladbach.”

That doesn’t exactly sound like someone who is ready to say goodbye to his native homeland just yet.

Nonetheless, we at EOTK Insider know Liverpool are keeping track of the Bundesliga star.

Alright, Liverpool, let’s go for a more direct question: does our midfield target play in the Premier League?

There are two names we’ve been strongly linked to: Yves Bissouma and Youri Tielemans.

The former has been ever-present in speculation since it became first apparent that the season just gone could be our ex-No.5’s last; the latter, on the other hand, has been featuring prominently only recently.

Both Premier League proven talents, both 24-years-old and both with skillsets that are similar to our departing Dutchman, the rumoured targets fit the bill as the kind of transfers Klopp would sanction.

There is interest in the Brighton & Hove Albion star, though it’s not as of yet clear how far our reported curiosity in the Leicester City man extends.

With Liverpool, things are never quite so clear-cut as having one, and only one, ideal signing.

It would be daft to conduct our transfer business this way, of course.

Nonetheless, while Rodrigo de Paul remains something of a dark horse for the summer window, we’d expect Liverpool to be keeping their tiles up for the remaining three names until further notice.

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