Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp may potentially face the arduous task of trying to replace ever-present midfielder Gini Wijnaldum this summer.
The Dutchman’s contract will run out in three months’ time and he’ll depart the club, unless an extension can be brokered before the end of the season.
In this article I’m going to attempt to identify three players who can capably carry out Wijnaldum’s role at Liverpool, while keeping things realistic in terms of feasible transfer targets.
First thing’s first: Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara are two midfielder who have come into the fold over the last year or so without the Reds losing any regular starters.
Adam Lallana left Liverpool last summer, but he saw his role reduced to that of a fringe player in the end.
It’s possible Jones and especially Thiago could absorb Wijnaldum’s role when Klopp has a fully fit squad at his disposal next season, but for the sake of the idea of ‘replacing’ the Dutchman, here’s three players who would potentially fill that void, in my opinion…
Houssem Aouar (~£45m)
The first and most popular choice for me is Lyon superstar Aouar. While the 22-year-old has been heavily linked with moves to Arsenal and Juventus [FFT], if Liverpool threw their hat into the ring, they’d surely not be dismissed.
A big part of Wijnaldum’s game is how well he recycles possession of the ball, and the Frenchman is accomplished in this area too – as well as being more of a threat on the break.
Aouar is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or on the flanks when needed, with his impressive dribbling skills and pace allowing for that versatility.
Kerem Demirbay (~£16m)
The Reds are rumoured to have kept an eye on Demirbay for a number of years, with reports going back to 2017 during his days with Roberto Firmino’s former club Hoffenheim.
The Germany international is on the other end of the scale when it comes to excitement when compared to Aouar, but he’s been a more than capable central midfielder for a number of years now.
At the age of 27, Demirbay may see a move to Liverpool as his last chance to make a name for himself at a really big club and could accept a reduced role at Anfield.
The Leverkusen star is somewhat similar to Aouar in terms of playing style, but he lacks that extra yard of pace. That being said, he would come at a much cheaper transfer fee.
Lorenzo Pellegrini (~£33.5m)
A bit of a wildcard shout, is the Roma captain – but Pellegrini is a versatile potential option for Liverpool, being able to play in defensive, central and attacking midfield, as well as out on the flanks and up front if needed.
Naturally more of a No.10 than a box-to-box midfielder, the 24-year-old would offer something a little different from Wijnaldum, but it’s a commodity the Reds have lacked in recent years: goals from midfield.
Pellegrini isn’t setting Italy ablaze this season by any means, but he’s managed 11 goal contributions in 30 games in all competitions.
Like with Aouar and Demirbay, the Roma star is fairly accomplished when it comes to recycling possession in the centre, although this is notably a weaker side of his overall game.