Gini Wijnaldum’s move from Liverpool to Paris Saint-Germain didn’t go to plan for the midfielder, who went from one of manager Jürgen Klopp’s most valued players to unregistered outcast over a year in France.
Now, though, the 31-year-old Dutch international has joined Roma, moving to the Serie A side on loan for the season with the Italian club holding a purchase option on the player, and he says he’s eager to start playing again.
“I trained with PSG during the pre-season,” Wijnaldum said when asked about how close to full match fitness he is right now. “Mentally I think I can play, but we always have to see how things go during the week with the team.”
Last season, Wijnaldum made 38 appearances for PSG, but he played less than 2000 total minutes—or about 52 minutes per outing, reflecting the fact that for many of those appearances he was coming off the bench.
At Roma, then, the goal and hope will be to make an impact quickly in the hopes that his new manager Jose Mourinho will value him more like Klopp did at Liverpool—and unlike how Mauricio Pochettino valued him at PSG.
“It’s always difficult to say what’s the perfect midfielder,” he said when asked about how highly his Liverpool manager regarded him—and about how poorly things then went when he switched to the Ligue 1 sportswashers.
“Maybe I was for Liverpool, but I understand that things like this can be different for another team. I think everyone has an opinion about what the perfect midfielder is, but if a manager like Klopp says it, of course, I am happy.”
He’s also looking forward to getting started at Roma, who kick off the Serie A season against Salernitana on August 14th, in part because he talked to former teammate Mohamed Salah before his final decision to join them.
“I wanted to come because of the effort the club made to sign me and because I spoke to Mo Salah,” he added. “I only heard good stories about Roma, and we played once with Liverpool and the atmosphere was amazing.
“I knew I’d play for a club with beautiful supporters, it was the only thing that I knew. What convinced me most was the effort Roma put in to sign me. I felt wanted and appreciated and that made me make the decision.”