Jurgen Klopp is reportedly unwilling to sign a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum this summer – and will instead turn to youth to fill his midfield void at Liverpool.
The popular Dutchman played his final game for Liverpool last weekend after five years sterling service to the Reds. He barely missed a Premier League game and will prove a big loss. Indeed, his manager gave him a fitting send-off in Sunday’s programme notes.
Well-respected transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has reported “a verbal agreement has been reached” with Barcelona. The Dutch star will sign a deal until 2024 “in the next few days” after an emotional goodbye at Anfield.
The Reds have been linked with a number of big-name replacements for Wijnaldum. Indeed, a report earlier this week stated Liverpool were to hold talks with Yves Bissouma’s agent over a potential £40m deal.
There are other options to the Brighton star, however. Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus is another man Liverpool could yet pursue.
The German has a €40m exit clause in his deal and is said to be open to the prospect of a move this summer.
Leicester’s Youri Tielemans is another who has, perhaps more ambitiously, been linked with Liverpool.
However, as per the PA news agency, Klopp will not be making a move to sign a new midfielder at all. Instead, the club will focus their attention – and limited finances after a pandemic-affected year – on renewing the contracts of established stars.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are reported to be first in line for extensions. Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Alisson Becker could soon follow.
And despite Wijnaldum leaving a big hole to fill, Klopp is understood to have trust in the options he has.
The Reds still have Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita available to play there. They also have Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and veteran James Milner to fall back on in reserve.
Indeed, as per PA, Klopp is willing to ‘repeat the gamble’ of last summer when he allowed a senior star – in Dejan Lovren – to depart without replacing them.
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And while a subsequent injury crisis left Klopp short in defence, he feels he has enough to cover in the midfield area.
Indeed, the chief beneficiary is likely to be homegrown star Jones. The 20-year-old impressed having played 34 times for Liverpool this season. And his first-team exposure is likely to increase next season in light of Wijnaldum’s departure.
Furthermore, Klopp also has strong faith in Liverpool’s youth. The likes of Jake Cain and Leighton Clarkson are both tipped for big things and have been impressing for Liverpool U23s this season. Both players featured in our The Scout article which focuses on upcoming talent. You can read about Cain right here.
Murphy tips Jones to progress further
The pundit told Stadium Astro: “Probably the reason why they have not moved heaven and earth to keep him is the emergence of Curtis Jones.
“What I understand, and the evidence is there in terms of the games he’s played. There are high hopes for Jones playing in that position, left of a three. They don’t see him as a front player.
“Probably the emergence of him has made them decide that they’re going to let him go.”