Ex-Liverpool star Gini Wijnaldum hits embarrassing new low with ‘flop of the year’ title

It’s fair to say Gini Wijnaldum‘s move to Paris Saint-Germain hasn’t played out how he or the French giants were expecting.

He struggled to secure a regular role within Mauricio Pochettino’s side, going on to amass just 1,933 minutes of action over 38 appearances, of which only 22 were starts. This led to him scooping the award of ‘ Ligue 1 Flop Signing of the Year’ by Get French Football News.

With over 100,000 votes combined with the input from an expert panel, Wijnaldum is said to have won the award by some distance. Beyond the shame of receiving the reward, the midfielder’s disastrous campaign has also led to him dropping out of contention for the Netherlands and his place at this year’s World Cup looks under real threat.

Few would have predicted such a downturn in form 12 months ago, when Jurgen Klopp labelled him a “manager’s dream”.

Following Wijnaldum’s final appearance for the Reds, the Liverpool boss said: “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.”

The Dutchman departed on a free transfer, with contract issues and claims that he “didn’t feel loved and appreciated” by a section of supporters playing a big role in his decision. Shortly after the switch, the 31-year-old lifted the lid on some of the difficulties he faced in the final months of his time at the club.

“The media didn’t help. There was a story that Liverpool made an offer, I didn’t accept because I wanted more money and the fans made it like: ‘OK, he didn’t get the offer, so he doesn’t try his best to win games’,” he told The Telegraph.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp didn't want Gini Wijnaldum to leave

Jurgen Klopp didn’t want Gini Wijnaldum to leave
Pool via REUTERS)

“Then the results were not really good and everything looked like it was against me. Some moments, it was like: ‘Wow, me again?’.”

Despite the way in which those final months played out for Wijnaldum at Anfield, he proved to be a key member of Klopp’s squad for much of his time at Liverpool. He was a regular within the German’s 4-3-3 system, illustrating himself as an excellent all-rounder who managed to score and create some big goals during his time with the Merseysiders.

He could also often be very selfless for the good of the team, taking fewer risks in possession and providing cover for more attack-minded Liverpool players. For much of his time with PSG, though, we’ve seen much more of the latter than the former, leading to too many forgettable performances and a failure to really stamp his authority on matches.

His defensive output in areas such as pressures, tackles and interceptions is largely the same as it was at Liverpool. However, there has been a notable downturn in his contributions with the ball.

In terms of progressive carries, Wijnaldum’s average fell from 5.29 in his final season with Liverpool to just 2.34 per 90 last season at PSG. With the French champions, he also averaged fewer touches, shot-creating actions, dribbles and passes.

It’s hard to accurately pinpoint the cause of his struggles because he has most often lined up as a number eight in a 4-3-3 system, just like he did for much of his time at Liverpool. Although there are slight tactical differences between Pochettino’s and Klopp’s set-ups, the Dutchman still should have adjusted well, in theory.

That’s not been the case, though, and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him cut his time at the Parc des Princes short this summer.

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