The huge task facing Liverpool sporting Director Julian Ward and what decision has been taken over the return of Gini Wijaldum.
The reaction of Liverpool fans was unsurprisingly mixed when former Red star Gini Wijnaldum was unexpectedly linked with the club over the weekend.
On the one hand, after postponing plans for a new midfielder until the summer of 2023, a loan move for the Dutchman could appear to be a smart short-term solution.
On the other hand, Jurgen Klopp’s team is very much soft-launching the next generation of players, with Sadio Mane’s impending €41 million move to Bayern Munich being the most recent sign of this transition.
This means that any attempt to re-sign Wijnaldum, even on a loan basis, would be pointless. Liverpool presently has eight senior midfielders on their books, and Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones could see more game time this season. Any attempt to acquire the Dutchman would only serve to hinder that possibility.
One of the reasons Klopp decided to extend his contract until 2026 is to oversee the duo’s transformation from promising youth to first-team regulars, as the Reds continue to plan long-term.
The departures of Wijnaldum last summer and Mane this year are all about making room for the next generation to continue Liverpool’s current success beyond Klopp’s first great team. And that is exactly what Julian Ward, the new sporting director, has been charged with since taking over from
His first job has been to rejuvenate Liverpool’s attacking line, with Sadio Manek, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah all approaching 30, with their contracts expiring in 2023. Luis Diaz strategically signed a window earlier than expected in January, before Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho were acquired this summer, to meet such a challenge.
Along with that attacking pair, Liverpool have signed Calvin Ramsay, an 18-year-old full-back who Klopp and assistant manager Pep Lijnders see as a true prospect who can develop and play exactly as they like their full-backs to play.
And with a change in the midfield being the goal for summer 2023, the right-back is set to wrap up the Reds’ incoming summer business.
As a result, any speculations tying Wijnaldum to a return to Anfield is pointless, with club officials claiming that the deal is done and dismissing any further speculation as gibberish.
Liverpool chiefs believe they have signed precisely what they needed and wanted this summer with their trio of arrivals, and any departures are unlikely to change their minds.
Ward’s next task this summer will be to get the club’s outgoings in order. While the club’s financial circumstances may allow them to maintain the roster intact for the coming season, players such as Takumi Minamino and Neco Williams are expected to follow Mane out the exit door.
Nat Phillips could be sold as well, depending on the outcome of discussions with other members of Klopp’s squad about their own future plans.
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