Having completed his move to Liverpool from Newcastle for a base £23M fee plus potentially a further £2M in add-ons, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has chosen to wear the same shirt number for the Reds he did while with the Magpies: shirt number five.
Surprisingly, despite being a core squad number, it’s not one with a long history of Liverpool players having worn it. Most recently, it was Daniel Agger’s, but before him, only three other players have worn the five for the club in the Premier League era: Milan Baros, Steve Staunton, and Mark Wright.
That would make Wijnaldum the fifth Liverpool player to take on the five since the FA switched to the use of persistent squad numbers in 1993, abandoning the previous practice of insisting that the starting lineup be made up of players wearing only the numbers one through 11.
It might also have some thinking that, just maybe, it signals that Jürgen Klopp sees the Dutch international as more of a box-to-box midfielder than a supporting attack player, and that Wijnaldum might even end up lining up alongside Emre Can in the double-pivot this season rather than being played higher up the pitch.
Wherever he plays, though, fans will be expecting goals, runs, and work-rate from the club’s new, £25M signing, who is expected to join up with his new teammates in California tomorrow.