Liverpool should not allow Georginio Wijnaldum to make himself one of the club’s highest earners should he pen a new contract, according to one pundit.
Wijnaldum’s future at Anfield remains uncertain, with the Dutchman well into the final year of his deal.
What’s more, links with the likes of Barcelona and Wolves have come hand-in-hand with his situation.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has refused to open up on whether the 30-year-old’s decision over a new deal. However, reports have suggested that his demands for a bumper new pay rise are causing the current stalemate.
Indeed, Wijnaldum is still on the five-year deal he signed when he joined from Newcastle in 2016. Since then, though, the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho have earned higher salaries.
Speaking to Football Insider, though, Darren Bent insisted that Wijnaldum does not deserve to be catapulted to the upper echelons of Liverpool’s wage bill.
“He’s been very, very good, but no, I’m not putting him on the same wages as [Mohamed] Salah, [Sadio] Mane, even [Roberto] Firmino, for that matter,” the pundit said.
“The likes of van Dijk, Alisson, [Andy] Robertson, Trent [Alexander-Arnold], no – don’t get me wrong, he’s been good, he’s been very good, especially when they won the Champions League, his role in the team, but to say he wants to be up there with the big earners, no.
“He’s been part of a very successful team and he deserves to be, I guess, in the same building as them guys because he has played well, there have been times, like in the Champions League semi-final, where I thought he was brilliant.
“But to kind of catapult yourself to where van Dijk is, Alisson, these guys, them two, for instance, changed lives at Liverpool when they came in.”
Bent also said that Wijnaldum has not proved his worth as much as the likes of Salah and Mane have.
Bent warns Liverpool over Wijnaldum deal
“Trent and Robertson have been absolutely superb and Salah, breaking records, Mane is Mane, for me one of their best players, if not the best player,” he added.
“So to say you want to be on the same kind of level as them, I don’t think so, you can’t get away with that.
“He certainly deserves a bigger wage than he’s probably on but to say that he wants to be one of the top earners in the same bracket as them guys, no.”
Wijnaldum played more Premier League games than any other Liverpool midfielder last season. This term, meanwhile, he has continued to be one of the Reds’ most reliable players amid their injury crisis.