Liverpool continue to assess the situation of Gini Wijnaldum after struggling to reach an agreement over a new contract. LFC Transfer Room writer Sudarshan Venkatesan takes a look at the situation and pinpoints three possible options the Reds could look at signing in case the Dutchman does not prolong his stay with the Reds.
Georginio Wijnaldum’s contract conundrum drags on as the fans await to see the conclusion. The Dutch International has just over a year left in his contract, and negotiations between the club and the player representatives have hit a snag, says The Athletic.
The midfielder who turns 30 in November, is one of Klopp’s most trusted players at Liverpool due to his productive performances since his move from Newcastle United in 2016. Hence, Jurgen Klopp will be aiming to tie the midfielder down to a new contract before January 2021, by then Wijnaldum would be allowed to speak with other clubs if the situation does not change.
The Reds have already started to assess other options across Europe should they fail to agree terms with the former PSV Skipper. Although, the German manager wants to keep hold of the 29-year-old midfielder past the 2021 summer, a fruitful offer could see the club cashing in on him in the upcoming months.
We shall look at Wijnaldum’s top three replacements as we currently stare at his unresolved issue.
#3 Houssem Aouar (Olympique Lyon):
Houssem Aouar is one of Europe’s exciting midfielders at present. Still only 21, the French International has already made 133 appearances for the club, scoring 27 times and assisting on 25 occasions.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola heaped praise on Houssem Aouar and labelled him an ‘incredible talent with excellent technical quality’ after the Citizens were held 2-2 by the Ligue 1 outfit in France in September 2018.
Aouar is versatile. He has the ability to play anywhere in the midfield department, but his primary position seems to be a central midfielder, operating just further ahead of the defensive midfielder. Taking current financial insinuation and Lyon’s absence in Europe the next campaign into account, a compromising offer around £40-50 million could be adequate to land him.
He holds dual citizenship of France and Algeria similar to Zinedine Zidane. Nonetheless, the Lyon star has already played for the European country’s junior sides, but is yet to earn a senior cap.
#2 Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan):
Marcelo Brozovic’s sedate development in the Serie A has finally come into the limelight. The Croatian international put pen to paper with the Italian giants in 2016 but failed to discover the much-needed consistency until Luciano Spalleti was installed at the San Siro hot seat two years ago.
The former Dynamo Zagreb midfielder carried his top-notch World Cup 2018 form into the new campaign. Brozovic is an integral piece of Inter Milan’s revival and started almost all the games over the last two seasons under Luciano Spalleti and Antonio Conte.
Gini Wijnaldum and Marcelo Brozovic share numerous common traits including physicality, keeping hold of the ball despite opponent’s high pressing, and possess the scope to explode in the defensive and attacking side of the game.
Like the current Liverpool #5, Brozovic celebrates his birthday in November, but he’ll be two years younger than the Reds midfielder later this year. Several outlets in the Italian media believe that Jurgen Klopp has contacted his agent to inform about his decision to meet £52 million asking price to prise him away from San Siro.
#1 Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach):
One of the star turners in the Bundesliga is Borussia Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria. The young Swiss International is imperative to Marco Rose’s system, which demands the Gladbach midfielder to tirelessly operate up and down the field.
Standing at 6ft 3in, Zakaria is an absolute unit of a player, but he’s so much more than that. He has the potency to cut short opponent’s counter-attack and initiate another counter-attack in the favour of his team in the middle of the park.
Over the last few seasons, he has grown in stature to become one of the finest midfield destroyers in the world. The 23-year-old is being chased by numerous clubs including Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, and Arsenal.
There’s room for improvement in certain elements for Zakaria, but it’s a no-brainer to land him should Gini Wijnaldum sort out his future elsewhere. Monchengladbach will be hopeful for an auction and are ready to listen to offers above €50 million.