Georginio Wijnaldum signs three-year deal to join Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Liverpool; Barcelona and Bayern Munich had been keen to sign Dutch midfielder; Wijnaldum spent five seasons at Anfield, winning the Premier League and Champions League
Thursday 10 June 2021 17:42, UK
Georginio Wijnaldum has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer from Liverpool, signing a three-year deal with the Ligue 1 club.
Wijnaldum left Liverpool at the end of the season after opting not to sign an extension to his contract at Anfield, and will now play under Mauricio Pochettino in France.
Barcelona and Bayern Munich had both been trying to sign the midfielder, who will captain the Netherlands at this summer's Euros.
"Joining Paris Saint-Germain is a new challenge for me," Wijnaldum said. "I join one of the best teams in Europe and I am determined to bring my desire and my determination to this ambitious project.
"Paris Saint-Germain has proved its status in recent years, and I am certain that together, for our supporters, we can go even further and higher."
Wijnaldum, who made 237 appearances for Liverpool since joining from Newcastle in July 2016, won the Champions League and Premier League during his five-year spell at Anfield.
The 30-year-old was given a guard of honour in his final Liverpool game last month - the 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace - which guaranteed Jurgen Klopp's side a spot in next season's Champions League.
An emotional Wijnaldum told Sky Sports after the game: "I'm fighting against my tears right now.
"I've said that the people in Liverpool and the club, my team-mates, have shown me love during the five years, and I will miss them.
"I hoped to play many more years for the club but unfortunately things went different."
When confirming his exit, Liverpool said: "Premier League winner. Champions League winner. FIFA Club World Cup winner. UEFA Super Cup winner. Liverpool legend.
"We thank Gini for all of his contributions to the club during the past five years and wish him the best of luck in the rest of his career."
"I will miss the player he is like crazy - highest-quality ability, one of the smartest players I have ever had the privilege to coach. His contribution was off the scale, a manager's dream," Klopp told the club's website.
"But as a person he'll leave just as big a hole. A more giving individual you could not wish to meet. Gini is very strong and opinionated, but his motivation is only to help the team - always. His team-mates adored him and respected him in equal measure.
"His smile lit up our workplace. He was a huge part of our beating heart. Of course, he is now someone else's and on behalf of the team we wish him great success in France with PSG. It is no surprise he's joined such an amazing club. Knowing his personality, he will fall in love with the city and the team - and they with him.
"Farewell, Gini: you came, you saw, you won the lot. You're a Liverpool legend now and forever."
Wijnaldum's departure means Liverpool must consider whether they must enter the transfer market to replace the midfielder.
When analysing their transfer options this summer, Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher said central midfield was one area where he expects the club to strengthen.
"Liverpool will certainly improve, there is no doubt about that. As soon as you bring in three centre-backs who are already at the club that will improve them massively," Carragher said.
"But we keep talking about centre-backs, Graeme [Souness] mentioned Van Dijk, the bigger problem for me is at the other end of the pitch. Liverpool have not had injuries there.
"More often than not, it is the same front three with Diogo Jota coming in. He is the only one of the front three that has been injured out of the attacking players.
"That is the bigger worry because I am sure that the defensive frailties that we have seen at times this season will be rectified by players coming back and Liverpool signing a player in the summer in that position.
"The big worry is that there is a changing of the guard. Not so much this team coming to an end but just that it has to be freshened up.
"I think through the centre of the team - centre back, central midfield and certainly someone up top to go straight into the starting line-up and break that front three up.
"They have been amazing for four or five years but as we have highlighted on shows before, very rarely do we see front threes stay together as long as these have. They have been amazing for Liverpool but the lack of goals is the biggest worry for me."