The cat is out of the hat. Liverpool and Georginio Wijnaldum will part ways this summer. The Dutchman has left an indelible legacy at Anfield. One which will make him go down as an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s era at the club and a key cog in the German’s machine.
However, turning 30 this year, the Dutchman might be departing at the best time for the club. He has already reached his peak under Klopp and as most player begin a slow decline once they hit 30, the club are cutting their losses at the right time.
It also allows Klopp to invest in a more competent midfielder.
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And the perfect candidate could be a player who has been on the club’s radar ever since Klopp’s very first summer transfer window.
Liverpool have the chance to upgrade Georginio Wijnaldum.
In fact in that time, the player in question was extremely close to joining the Reds.
Piotr Zielinski was on the verge of a move to Liverpool before Napoli intervened Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi has confirmed.
🗣“He was meant to play for Liverpool. When he came to Naples, he had that option, but they did really well to convince him.” pic.twitter.com/Okn5CroyCv
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) October 12, 2018
According to an interview with the players’ parents by Weszlo, Liverpool wanted him since he was 14 years of age, offering a trial for him back then too.
The perfect replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum would be Piotr Zielinski.
The Polish midfielder posses all the traits that the Dutchman does. Zielinski is a combative midfielder who can pressurise his opponents and reads the game astutely.
If anything the Polish midfielder is more of a complete midfielder than Wijnaldum and contributes more in attack.
Zielinski has scored 8 goals and registered 8 assists for Napoli this season. He has also made 7.53 progressive carries per 90 via FBref which ranks him in the upper 93 percentile for midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues. In comparison Wijnaldum only averages 4.99 per 90. The Pole also makes more progressive passes with 4 than Wijnaldum.
Meanwhile their defensive contributions are relatively similar. They both average 0.50 interceptions per 90. Wijnaldum makes 0.3 more tackles per 90 but that difference is very marginal.
And when it comes to Zielinski’s ability to progress the ball, that could be a huge upgrade on the Dutchman. Add his knack for goal-scoring and Klopp’s ability to get the best out of Polish players, think back to his time at Dortmund, and this could be a match made in heaven.
His powerful and pacey style of play could suit the Premier League perfectly. Zielinski is the type of player who could thrive under Klopp. The pressing game and the high intensity heavy metal football is exactly what he is all about.
There is no surprise Klopp has kept him on his radar for so long.
This could be the perfect move. For a player who has been courted by the club for over a decade.
Would you be happy with Piotr Zielinski arriving at Anfield?