Gini Wijnaldum’s Liverpool future has attracted ceaseless speculation this season as the midfielder’s contract with the Merseysiders expires this summer.
Graeme Souness has not been been pleased with the Dutchman’s efforts, accusing the No.5 of lacking intensity in his play whilst links to Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona rage on.
“Injuries have hurt Liverpool badly, but they have not played with the same intensity either. Some players have felt sorry for themselves,” the former Red wrote for the Sunday Times (via the Echo).
“They have not responded as well as Jurgen Klopp would have expected or wanted them to. They felt it wasn’t their year and have meekly accepted that.
“Wijnaldum is leaving for Barcelona and I’m not sure how I’d have reacted to a player who made it clear he was off, how that goes down in a dressing-room. The players may make a joke of it, but it also may not sit well with all of them.
“He’s not played with the same intensity this season, Henderson has been absent with injuries, Naby Keïta has not shown he can step up, Milner’s another year older, Fabinho’s often filled in at centre back and Thiago Alcantara has come into a team that’s been huffing and puffing.”
The former Newcastle star has been embroiled in constant negotiations with the Reds, with it being reported that the club’s offered terms have failed to reflect the 30-year-old’s wage demands.
Given the importance Jurgen Klopp ascribes to Wijnaldum, it’s a loss one would expect to hurt Liverpool beyond the impending window.
Considering his age and the unpredictability of the point of decline for a midfielder who has proven to be virtually indestructible for the Merseyside-based outfit over the last five seasons, it’s difficult to determine whether the right call would be to let him leave on a free.
It’s one the side could come to regret but the Premier League holders have admittedly more than proven the wiseness of their decision-making in transfer windows past to justify it.