Liverpool: Wijnaldum comments as contract saga goes on
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Liverpool are closing in on decision day in regards to who they want to replace Gini Wijnaldum for next season and have two main options, at least according to what Fabrizio Romano said in late January.
The Dutchman appears increasingly likely to leave Anfield at the end of the season with Liverpool refusing to alter their stance towards handing the 30-year-old a significant pay rise.
Wijnaldum’s current contract runs out in the summer and Barcelona are eager to take the Netherlands international to the Nou Camp on a free.
Losing a player of his experience will be a blow to Jurgen Klopp who has made it clear he would love to keep Wijnaldum, while the midfielder himself would prefer to stay on Merseyside.
But given his age, Liverpool do not want to hand out the pay-packet that Wijnaldum thinks he deserves after five years of service to the Reds.
That is set to lead to a parting of ways and speaking back in January, Romano told Anfield Watch that a decision as to who Liverpool chase as his replacement would be made next month (April).
Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Lille midfielder Renato Sanches, formerly of Bayern Munich, were name-checked as the two main options for Klopp.
“We’re talking about players being scouted rather than talks at the moment,” Romano said. “Bissouma has been scouted and is appreciated as a player but I’ll mention Renato Sanches as well.
“There were rumours about Renato signing in January but that was never going to happen because Liverpool are not signing anyone this month.
“But, if Wijnaldum leaves in the summer, then Sanches could be a good opportunity for Liverpool.
“They are looking at him as well as Bissouma because Lille need money – they will need to sell players next summer – and in my opinion, Renato Sanches could be a great opportunity and he’s been scouted too.
“Liverpool have a list and they’ll decide in April who they want to go for.”
With April fast approaching, Liverpool will be hard at work behind the scenes deciding on who they want to succeed Wijnaldum in Klopp’s midfield.
Bissouma and Sanches are both affordable and have major promise at the ages of 24 and 23 respectively, with the Portuguese midfielder arguably the more easily attainable.
Malian Bissouma might have been easier to buy if Brighton were to drop into the Championship but the Seagulls are six points clear of 18th-placed Fulham and have played one match less.
Sheffield United’s Sander Berge has been mentioned as an option too with Klopp having liked the look of the 23-year-old when he faced Liverpool for Genk in the Champions League.
The Norwegian only joined the Blades in January 2020 for £22.5million but with their impending relegation to the Championship could be prised away from Bramall Lane.
Yet Sheffield United are understood to what significantly more than the fee they paid for Berge if they are to let him leave, with the player under contract until 2024.
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Speaking back in January, Duncan Castles said on Reach PLC’s Transfer Window Podcast that Bissouma is Klopp’s favoured target.
“Bissouma’s contract runs until 2023, so he’s getting into that danger area for the club who holds his contract,” Castles said. “If they don’t sell him in the coming summer, he starts moving into the second last year and transfer value reduces drastically.
“So Brighton will probably need to extend Bissouma’s contract or look seriously at any offers they receive for him.
“I think if you look at Liverpool, it’s clear that Bissouma is being thought of as an option to replace Gini Wijnaldum. That’s if he leaves under freedom of contract at the end of the season.
“He’s a similar type of player, performs a similar type of role. But he’s much younger, you mentioned the statical high rating at present. We know that’s one of the filters that Liverpool use before presenting to Jurgen Klopp as options for new signings.
“My understanding is that Klopp has done some work to ask questions about Bissouma to people who know him well. Again this suggest that this is something Liverpool have on a potential list of replacements.”
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