According to a report from Football Insider, Jurgen Klopp has placed greater emphasis on trying to secure a new contract for Georginio Wijnaldum this summer ahead of bringing in players to Anfield in the transfer market.
Football Insider claimed that the Reds manager has told the club’s hierarchy that he is keen to secure the Dutchman’s future on Merseyside with the offer of a new deal, as his current contract is set to expire next year and he is on an £80,000 weekly wage that is comparatively low for a first team regular. The report added that contract talks with the 29-year-old are underway.
Even though Wijnaldum will be 30 in November, an assessment of his performance metrics from this season should go a long way to explaining why Klopp is so keen to tie him down to a new deal rather than risk losing him in the next 18 months. His presence in the starting line-up for all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games in 2019/20, as well as his total of 3,028 minutes being the most of any Reds midfielder, is a clear sign of the faith that the manager places in him.
The Dutchman has an excellent passing accuracy rate of 90.9%, the highest in the squad when players who have featured for fewer than 100 league minutes are excluded. His passing success rate in the Champions League is even higher at 91.8%, highlighting his very efficient use of possession. In addition to distributing the ball sensibly, he is also adept at advancing play himself – his average of 1.2 dribbles per game is bettered only by Liverpool’s main front three of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. [via WhoScored]
Wijnaldum is among the more attack-minded midfielders in Klopp’s squad, with his five-goal tally for the season second only to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (seven) among the Reds’ midfield, while his average of one shot per game is the second best of anyone in that position at Anfield (Oxlade-Chamberlain has 1.5). He tends to time his goals well, too – he came up with the winner in a tight encounter at Sheffield United six months ago, while Anfield goals against Genk and West Ham eventually proved crucial in one-goal wins. His strike against Atletico Madrid a fortnight ago forced extra time in a Champions League clash which ultimately got away from Liverpool, whose success in the competition last year owed plenty to Wijnaldum’s double in the epic 4-0 win over Barcelona.
The Reds already have tough-tackling midfield anchors in Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, so the enterprising verve, pinpoint passing and goal contributions of Wijnaldum are a necessity for Liverpool further up the pitch. He remains a vital cog in Klopp’s team and the manager is quite right to insist to the board that the 29-year-old must be tied down at the earliest opportunity to stave off any doubts over his Anfield future when he still has so much to offer.
Are you confident that Liverpool will soon secure a new contract for Wijnaldum? How vital is the Dutchman to the Reds at the moment? Let us know what you think by commenting below!