Gini Wijnaldum’s first six months at Paris Saint-Germain haven’t gone as the 31-year-old midfielder would have hoped when he chose to head to France following the expiry of his Liverpool contract last summer.
Now, he could be set to make a shock return to a former club—but it won’t be the Reds he’s returning to if he does. At least that’s the story this week from L’Equipe, who say it’s Newcastle United he could soon re-join.
Wijnaldum played for the north-east club before joining Jürgen Klopp’s Reds, and the Toon are now awash with oil money after being bought up by Saudi Arabia as a sportswashing front in the autumn.
They’re also stuck in the relegation places, at risk of being sent down to the Championship—a potential major blow to their new owners’ plans of replicating Abu Dhabi’s efforts at Manchester City and Qatar’s in Paris.
What good, after all, is an expensive sportswashing front for a human rights-abusing petrostate if it’s left toiling in England’s second division? That they will make major January signings, then, seems inevitable.
If Wijnaldum returns to Newcastle, L’Equipe think it will only be on loan, a short-term playing time solution for a player whose move to Ligue 1 hasn’t gone to plan—and a potential boost to Newcastle’s survival hopes.