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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to Georginio Wijnaldum after the central midfielder completed his move to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Dutch international has penned a three-year contract at the Parisians and has joined as a free agent after his contract on Merseyside expired.
Wijnaldum enjoyed a sterling five seasons at Anfield, whom he helped to the Champions League title in 2019 and to the Premier League crown the following year.
The midfielder was a central figure to the team across his spell at the club, clocking up 237 first-team appearances across that timeframe and he featured in every Premier League fixture this season.
Georginio Wijnaldum has left Liverpool to join Paris Saint-Germain
(Image: Pool via REUTERS)
The Dutchman was strongly linked with a switch to Barcelona this summer – which would have seen him reunited with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman – but despite talks with the Catalan giants, he has moved to the French capital.
The former Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven midfielder will be a notable loss for the Reds, whom he served with distinction.
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Now, the Liverpool boss – who oversaw the arrival of Wijnaldum from Newcastle in the summer of 2016 – has spoken publicly about the midfielder’s impact at the club and reiterated his sadness at his departure.
Klopp told Liverpool’s official website : “As a team we said our goodbyes to Gini at Anfield after the final game of the season. There was the public farewell on the pitch with the guard of honour. But then a more private occasion also.
How will Liverpool fill the void left by Gini Wijnaldum's exit? Comment below
“It was difficult for all of us because of how much this astonishing person means to the group. He’s been a big part of our lives for so long. There is nothing I won’t miss about him.
“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.
“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 teammates 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.”
It is unclear if Liverpool will move to sign a replacement for Wijnaldum this summer following the emergence of Curtis Jones in the position in the 2020/21 campaign.
Central midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson – who rarely featured since February – were often deployed at the heart of the defence due to an injury crisis in the position.