PSV Eindhoven captain Georginio Wijnaldum is on his way out of the Philips Stadion this summer. Rion Rodgers looks at why he would be a perfect signing for Liverpool.

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wijna psThere are numerous reasons why Liverpool failed to improve upon their performances from last season. The lack of a balanced midfield setup with the players that possess the appropriate skillset in the right proportions that complement each other perfectly, is one such reason. Georginio Wijnaldum could be that final ingredient that is needed to transform Liverpool’s midfield and ensure that it compares advantageously with those of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and the other big Premier League clubs.

Liverpool played some brilliant football last season and at some moments they were able to reach very staggering heights. Premier League fans won’t quickly forget the merciless punishment that Arsenal was handed at Anfield in February 2014 or the brutal thrashing that Tottenham Hotspur was subjected to at White Hart Lane in September 2013, both at the hands of a ruthless Liverpool team. Some Liverpool fans have even said that were it not for the painful moment when Steven Gerrard’s slip at Anfield allowed Chelsea to score, Liverpool would have finished the season with a shiny league title. This season however, the Merseysiders have failed to keep up such high levels of performance. It must be said that the loss of one of the best talents to come out of the Eredivisie in the last decade, Luis Suarez, is one of the contributing factors to their decline.

Brendan Rodgers has struggled all throughout this season to weave together a midfield duet, triplet or even a quartet, that could consistently manage the rigors of the Premier league with the sublime and illustrious poise needed to challenge for the title. However, the entire midfield arguably isn’t mal-functional. Philippe Coutinho has been impressive playing as a number 10 and Jordan Henderson is showing that he has the skills, guile and intelligence to take the role of the living legend, that is, Steven Gerrard. However, there is still one significant void in the middle of the pitch. That is a player with the speed, power, skills and intelligence to provide sublime balance and dictate play. Chelsea has Cesc Fabregas and Manchester City has Yaya Toure’, the PSV Eindhoven captain and Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum could be Liverpool’s equivalent to those guys.

Wijnaldum typifies the modern box-to-box midfielder who utilises a full kit of skills and attributes. Strong tackler, good first touch, calculated passes, fierce shot, speed, great work rate, lethal finishing, exceptional leadership and organisational skills.

Wijnaldum is on the verge of ending his impressive season with PSV Eindhoven as champions of the Eredivisie and with an enviable personal record of thirteen leagues goals and three assists at the end of match day 32. But even more incredible is that he had led the team superbly as captain. He dictated the midfield rhythm of the team, pushed his teammates when needed and was always among the hardest workers on the pitch in every single game he played.

Current Manchester United coach Luis van Gaal is also a huge fan of this midfield protagonist and saw first-hand how useful Wijnaldum could be when he presented himself as a hugely influential player in Van Gaal’s third place finishing World Cup team last year. During that world cup tournament, Wijnaldum showed that he could perform at the highest level.

At the age of twenty four years old, Georginio has over eight years’ experience of first team football in the Dutch Eredivisie playing with Feyenoord Rotterdam and PSV Eindhoven. He has definitely outgrown the Eredivisie and therefore now ready for the next big step in his career.

The arrival of Wijnaldum could however, deliver another problem for Brendan Rodgers. Where to play Jordan Henderson? Henderson has impressed in the box-to-box role this season, but Georginio would arguably be most effective in that position for the team. And with Coutinho playing as the number 10, then Henderson would have to take the reins as the defensive midfielder. There is some amount of concern about how well Jordan would be able to manage in that position and whether Liverpool needs to also purchase another player for that role. Georginio’s versatility would however allow Rodgers to play him in what is probably his favourite number 10 role, in order to keep Henderson in that box-to-box position. This would mean that Coutinho could be pushed a line further into the front three, which is a position that he has played on numerous occasions this season. It must be said though that this circumstance would leave Liverpool open to procuring another defensive midfielder, if Lucas Leiva, Joe Allen or Emre Can, are not up to the challenge.

Enhancing the midfield will not solve all of Liverpool’s problems, but it will represent a tremendous step in the right direction. And the addition of Wijnaldum could represent the commencement of the efforts to strategically position the team to make a potent assault on the title next season.

Rion Rodgers (4 Posts)