Liverpool have continued their summer spending spree by signing Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle for £25m, in a move which further strengthens the club’s attacking options.
Wijnaldum’s debut Premier League season
During his first season in the Premier League with Newcastle, whom he joined from PSV Eindhoven for a reported £14.5m last July, Wijnaldum scored 11 goals, including one on his debut against Southampton and four in a 6-2 win over Norwich in mid-October.
Whilst initially Wijnaldum played on the left wing for Newcastle, midway through last season he was redeployed to a more central attacking position by the club’s then manager Steve McClaren and flourished in his new playmaking role.
Given the licence to roam freely behind Newcastle’s lone striker, the 25-year-old brilliantly linked up play and created goal scoring opportunities, whilst also making intelligent runs into opposition penalty areas, as he constituted the focal point of his team’s attack throughout the season.
Evidence of that is the statistic that, since Wiljnaldum scored 11 goals and provided assists for another five, he was directly involved in 36 per cent of the 44 Premier League goals Newcastle scored.
Nevertheless, the Dutch internationalist’s best efforts to help Newcastle avoid relegation were in vain but he will have the chance to once again showcase his superb skills in the Premier League with Liverpool.
Liverpool’s attack wealthier with Wijnaldum
Ultimately, establishing himself as a first team regular in Jurgen Klopp’s side will prove to be a real challenge for Wijnaldum given the wealth of quality attacking midfield options available to the German manager. Those include Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Marko Grujic, Adam Lallana, who along with Wijnaldum is now Liverpool’s joint fifth most expensive ever signing at £25m.
At present the chief architect who plays a key role in designing Liverpool’s attack is Coutinho, who since joining the club from Inter Milan in January 2013, has become one of the best playmaker’s in Europe.
Furthermore given that Firmino and Lallana performed impressively in offensive roles last season, with Wijnaldum also having done so for Newcastle, Klopp now has an enhanced array of attacking talent at his disposal.
The acquisition of Wijnaldum takes the total of Liverpool’s summer spending to somewhere in the region of £73m, with the club having previously signed a quintet of other players.
Liverpool’s summer signings:
– Mainz goalkeeper Loris Karius – £4.7m
– Schalke central defender Joel Matip – Free transfer
– Red Star Belgrade midfielder Marko Grujic – £5.1m
– Southampton striker Sadio Mane – £34m
– FC Augsburg defender Ragnar Klaven – £4.2m
– Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum – £25m
As yet it is unclear as to the role which Wijnaldum will play for Liverpool. However there is no doubt that the Dutchman, who has made 30 international appearances and scored five goals for Oranje, possesses the potential to help Liverpool launch a sustained challenge to win the 2016-2017 Premier League title.