Will Gini Wijnaldum Be Ranked Among Liverpool Legends?

Share

After months of speculation that free agent Georginio Wijnaldum would join FC Barcelona following the expiration of his Liverpool contract, there was a late twist in the transfer tale when the midfielder opted to join Paris Saint-Germain instead.

The Netherlands captain was keen to get an agreement wrapped up ahead of the European Championships so that he could remain focused on the tournament. However, after four weeks of negotiations with the Catalan club and no agreement reached, PSG took advantage with a big-money offer and a show of ambition that the Dutchman couldn’t refuse. The £165,000-a-week deal now makes the 31-year-old the ninth-highest-paid player at the French club and puts him at more than double what he was earning in England. But did he do enough during his time on Merseyside to earn legendary status?

Understated Performer

Wijnaldum’s contributions during his five-year spell at Anfield were often overlooked or at least understated. He was rarely singled out as a player to fear by opposition fans, and pundits were frequently miserly in their praise of his performances. Yet he still leaves Liverpool as one of the most important figures in the club’s recent history.

liverpool

The club were not even considered to be contenders for the league title in England when he arrived, but they are now regularly ranked amongst the favourites for the major honours in the football betting markets. For example, they are third favourites to win the 2022 Champions League before a ball has even been kicked. Reds’ boss Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged that Wijnaldum played a huge part in that revival.

The midfielder made 237 appearances for the Anfield club and was integral to the trophy-laden spell between 2019 and 2020, winning the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. He will be best remembered for his two goals in two minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 2019 Champions League semi-final 2nd leg against Barcelona, in which Liverpool had to overturn a three-goal deficit in order to progress.

However, those specific, heroic exploits were just a small part of his overall game.

Versatile and Intelligent

Wijnaldum is a player whose game intelligence allows those around him to thrive. His ability to dictate the pace of the game, press the opposition, close the gaps and hold onto possession under pressure was vital as Liverpool powered to their first league title in 30 years. He is also a player who is happy to fulfil whatever duty is asked of him, as demonstrated by his role for the Netherlands national team where he has been installed as captain and enjoys a more attacking role, netting 23 goals in 76 games to date. In his career, he has played as a No. 10, a winger and a defensive midfielder. On top of all this, he is also a popular figure in the dressing room where he acts as a leader and role model for others.

Most Liverpool fans will admit they were not exactly buzzing with excitement when he arrived for £25m from Newcastle United in 2016 but he leaves the club under a shower of goodwill and positive sentiment. To answer the question as to whether he can be classed as a Liverpool legend or not, we’ll leave the final word to his former boss, Jurgen Klopp, who had this to say: “Farewell, Gini: you came, you saw, you won the lot. You’re a Liverpool legend now and forever.”

Comments

  1. Average legend

Speak Your Mind