The longer talk of Gini Wijnaldum to Barcelona drags on the more inevitable it seems, at least as it’s being painted by a press eager to pair his proposed move to join Ronald Koeman with a Thiago Alcantara Liverpool switch.
At the same time, the longer talk of Wijnaldum to Barcelona drags on with no sign of any particularly meaningful development the more one has to wonder if in the end it might not happen—and John Aldridge is concerned by that dragging on.
“You very rarely see him giving the ball away, but he did that a few times in the first half against Arsenal,” the former Red said in his Sunday World column as relayed by Goal today. “That may be because his future is up in the air.
“There has been a lot of talk that Thiago Alcantara will replace Wijnaldum in the Liverpool squad and there are rumours that he has been tapped up by Barcelona’s new manager Ronald Koeman.”
Certainly Wijnaldum’s game against Arsenal was far from perfect, but he wasn’t alone in that and it seems at least as likely that his mistakes were simply reflective of a tired player, one who had put in a lot of pre-season running.
With a focus on fitness in pre-season, players often enter matches with lower energy levels than they do during the season as they look to ramp up their stamina alongside match sharpness. As such, if it was only Wijnaldum who looked off it might have been concerning—but it wasn’t.
Still, if a move to Barcelona for the player is on—and with it a complementary move to Liverpool for Thiago—it probably would be in everyone’s best interest to get the deals done before the season proper kicks off.
“Players who are uncertain over their future can be affected in matches,” Aldridge added. “Liverpool can’t afford to allow that issue to become a big problem.”