Why Saul Niguez will be the perfect Gini Wijnaldum replacement
The Dutchman always seemed to be available for selection and Jurgen Klopp’s system was heavily reliant on the unique skillset of the former PSV Eindhoven skipper. Wijnaldum has now joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer and will be fondly remembered as a modern-day legend of the iconic club and it goes without saying that the Reds will be one of their most trusted lieutenants both on and off the pitch.
A host of names have been linked with a switch to Anfield in the summer such as Florian Neuhaus, John McGinn, Renato Sanches, Otavio, Youri Tielemans, Yves Bissouma but the player who looks like the most ideal replacement of Wijnaldum is none other than Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez.
Regarded as one of the untouchables at Atletico Madrid until the last season, Saul has been one of the most coveted midfielders ever since his emergence at a very young age. Following his underwhelming last season at Wanda Metropolitano, there are suggestions that Diego Simeone’s side could be about to cash in on the midfielder, who signed an incredible nine-year contract in 2016, for a fee of around £35 million. And for that fee, Saul could turn out to be yet another masterstroke signing by Liverpool.
Saul has been a household name in European football for several years now has made 463 senior appearances for club and country over the years but he is still only 26 years of age. With so much experience at the highest level, the Spaniard seems like a complete package for what he brings to the table.
Out of all the midfielders having been linked with a switch to Anfield, Saul looks like the most complete midfielder and that is exactly what Liverpool should be seeking as they look to replace the void created by Wijnaldum’s departure.
First of all, Saul is a left-footed midfielder and his arrival would add a whole new dimension to the Liverpool midfield. Wijnadum usually played as the left-sided number eight in Klopp’s 4-3-3 system and his job used to be much different to the one playing as the right-sided number eight. Wijnaldum used to play in a rather conservative role when on the ball and his key job was to retain and recycle possession.
The left-hand side of the Liverpool midfield is usually more reserved, tactically disciplined, ready-to-sit No8 more often than not and Saul looks tailor-made for that role thanks to his defensive discipline and immense ability on the ball.
Saul is extremely experienced for someone who is only 26 and despite playing such a massive number of games for a high-pressing team like Atletico Madrid, his injury history will encourage Liverpool. Another reason why the Reds should go for the Spaniard is his versatility.
There are very few active players who can play in so many roles as Saul with the Spaniard having played as a number eight, number ten, number six, right flank, left flank, left-back and even as a centre-back. With James Milner not getting any younger, Saul’s versatility could prove to be a vital asset for the Reds in years to come.
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