Georginio Wijnaldum: focus on Paris' new midfielder
Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum has signed for Paris Saint-Germain until June 2024, after five successful years with Liverpool.
Georginio Wijnaldum is anything but an unknown quantity on the European scene. He arrived on Merseyside in 2016 and made no fewer than 237 appearances in five seasons for the Reds. He was a key figure in Liverpool's unstoppable run to the 2019 UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, as well as being a key figure in the club's first Premier League triumph in 30 years.
The fact that only Roberto Firmino (243) has made more appearances than him for Liverpool since his arrival in 2016-17 is a testament to his importance in Jurgen Klopp’s side, alongside the likes of Salah, Van Dijk and Mané.
Yet the Dutch international is a quiet man, both on and off the pitch. On the pitch, he is one of those players that likes to make his teammates shine.
A leader on the pitch, he made no fewer than 51 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool in the 2020-21 season and had the honour of captaining the side on several occasions. In fact, it was with the armband that he said goodbye to Anfield in his final game.
What kind of player is he?
A true English-style box-to-box midfielder, Wijnaldum is a complete player, offering both physical qualities, a polished technique and an impeccable attitude. With 90% of passes completed for Liverpool, he had the best percentage since 2016-17 among the Reds with a minimum of 50 appearances over that period.
As combative as he is unselfish, capable of attacking as well as winning back possession from his opponents, the Oranje star has such an impressive work-rate, that he can play any role in a two- or three-man midfield. In short, he is one of those players who can do it all, and will never give up. And while he’s as comfortable ball-winning as he is in building the play, he also knows where the back of the net is, as illustrated by his 11 goals with Newcastle, his 25 goals with Feyenoord, the 56 he scored for PSV Eindhoven and his 22 for the Reds. He has also scored 22 goals for the Netherlands, including eight in the Euro 2020 qualifiers alone. And while he is not an out and out striker, he does have an eye for goal, like on that historic night against Barcelona in 2019, that helped the Reds on their way to continental glory.
Wijnaldum also boasts a wealth of experience. Having made his Eredivisie debut at the age of 16 for Feyenoord, he has made more than 560 official appearances in 14 seasons at club level, and has played 41 matches in the Champions League alone. He is the fourth player in the team to have won the Champions League, along with Neymar Jr, Keylor Navas and Angel Di Maria.
And that's not even counting his 75 caps for the Dutch national team, which he has joined up with to compete at Euro 2020.
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Wijnaldum, who has made at least 40 appearances for his club in seven consecutive seasons and played in every single Premier League match last season, is a model of consistency.
Mauricio Pochettino knows this better than anyone, having also met him as an opponent, as in the UEFA Champions League final won by the Dutchman.
And if Wijnaldum has decided to cross the Channel and join the Parisian project, it is also because Paris Saint-Germain has big ambitions for the future. The Rotterdam native begins his Euro campaign with the Netherlands against Ukraine on Sunday 13 June.
He is the 6th Dutch player in the history of Paris Saint-Germain, after Kees Kist in 1982, followed by Pierre Vermeulen, Gregory van der Wiel and currently Xavi Simons and Mitchel Bakker.