Georginio Wijnaldum’s contract talks with Liverpool have reportedly reached a ‘stalemate’ with the two parties unable to agree on an extension at present, with the midfielder having entered the final months of his deal and able to walk away on a free transfer this summer.
The Netherlands international is keen for his contribution to the Reds’ recent successes to be recognised with an improved deal, whilst Barcelona are heading the list of clubs interested in securing the signing of the 30-year-old at the end of the campaign.
So for those of you who bet on Premier League football, we’ve profiled four players who could make ideal replacements for the Dutchman at Anfield:
Yves Bissouma is a name that has been strongly linked with a move to Merseyside in recent weeks, the combative midfielder having won admirers for his all-action displays at Brighton.
Bissouma emerged at the talent factory that is Lille before making the move to the Premier League, where after an underwhelming opening campaign he has begun to attract attention with his consistency in the Seagulls’ engine room.
The 24-year-old is a player that will commit to the ‘dirty work’ Wijnaldum is often tasked with in the Liverpool midfield, pressing opponents intently and protecting possession after winning the ball back.
Bissouma ranks third in the Premier League for tackles won this season and has also been linked with a potential move to Arsenal, his similarities to Wijnaldum – a press-resistant ability in possession and covering of the ground – marking him out as a potential transfer target for the Reds.
Much is often made about Premier League proven purchases and Ruben Neves most certainly fits that category, the midfielder having starred during Wolves’ recent rise and return to prominence.
Neves burst onto the scene as a teenager and was appointed captain of Champions League regulars Porto at just 18-years-old, a testament to the talent and attitude of a playmaker with undoubted quality.
The Portugal international can not match Wijnaldum for athletic qualities but has proven himself as a fine ball-winner, with no player in the Premier League having regained possession on more occasions throughout 2020.
268 – Rúben Neves won possession more often than any other player in the Premier League in 2020, while the midfielder also made the most tackles (72) of any player for Wolves. Bite. #OptaReview2020 pic.twitter.com/BZ1O4nSiCv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 31, 2020
Liverpool have enjoyed success in signing from Wolves previously with Diogo Jota having enjoyed a superb start to his career with the Reds, and Neves could be another to follow his compatriot to Merseyside.
The 23-year-old’s ability to win possession and exceptional passing range would add a different dimension to Liverpool’s midfield options, though he is unlikely to come cheap.
Borussia Monchengladbach’s midfield enforcer has been touted for a move to the Premier League for some time having made a huge impression in the Bundesliga, the likes of Bayern Munich and Manchester City amongst the leading clubs to have been credited with an interest.
Zakaria is comfortable in a box-to-box midfield role or further back and has also featured in central defence, his versatility further adding to the appeal of a player who has drawn comparisons to former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira.
The Switzerland international is a superb ball-winner and adds drive to the centre of the pitch, emerging as arguably the key figure in Marco Rose’s side last season as they secured Champions League qualification.
Injury halted his progress with the 24-year-old having only recently returned to action, and sides will be monitoring his return ahead of sanctioning a move which could cost in the region of £40m.
The third current Premier League player on our list of potential Wijnaldum replacements, Youri Tielemans continues to impress as the midfield metronome of an impressive Leicester side.
Tielemans came through the academy system at Anderlecht before heading to Leicester via a brief spell at Monaco, signing in a club-record £40m deal with the Foxes well aware of his huge potential.
The 23-year-old has already played more than 300 games across his career since emerging as a teenager and has grown in stature for club and country over the past year, becoming a fixture in Roberto Martinez’s Belgium side who will be eyeing success at Euro 2021.
Just how good was this Tielemans goal last weekend? 🤩
Here it is in all its glory ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/iAL0nY7k70
— Leicester City (@LCFC) January 7, 2021
Tielemans has thrived in a deep-lying playmaker role, taking possession off the back four and progressing the Foxes forward with penetrative passing between opposition lines.
Comfortable playing deep, box-to-box and further forward, Tielemans would be a shrewd addition to any top side seeking midfield quality but will be difficult to prise from the King Power Stadium.