Liverpool has set out two transfer requirements that sound awfully Georginio Wijnaldum-like, and Khéphren Thuram can help the Reds finally fill the void.
Former Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum was named on the bench for AS Roma on Wednesday night as it took on Sevilla in the Europa League final.
Wijnaldum probably wasn’t all that surprised by the decision from José Mourinho, because he’d been a substitute from the quarterfinal first leg onwards.
However, he still wound up playing 52 minutes after replacing Paulo Dybala as the game went to extra time.
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Dybala had given Roma the lead 10 minutes before the break, but Sevilla equalized through a Gianluca Mancini own goal early in the second half. The Giallorossi would ultimately lose the penalty shootout 4-1.
Defeat means Roma has missed the chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but it could yet join Liverpool in the Europa League.
It sits in sixth place ahead of the final round of Serie A matches this weekend and, as it takes on relegation-threatened Spezia, it only has to match the result of Juventus to hold its position.
Liverpool’s failure to make the Champions League largely stems from its midfield woes, which in turn are partly down to its failure to replace 2021 departee Wijnaldum.
Now, however, the club is determined to, at last, fill the void left by the Dutchman. According to L’Équipe (via GFFN), the club wants to sign ‘two box-to-box midfielders whose strong points are physicality and transitional play’.
Transitions, it’s worth explaining before we go any further, are the moments after a team loses the ball and tries to retreat back into its shape, and they can often be key to determining the outcome of closely-fought matches at the elite level.
Wijnaldum was a particular specialist at defensive transitions, helping Fabinho to snuff out dangerous counters, and he was also a mighty athlete — strong, fairly quick and durable.
Nice midfielder Khéphren Thuram, a target for the Reds this summer according to the French publication, is a player of a similar mold.
Thuram boasts a towering 6ft 4in frame and has even joked that he wants to develop a body like the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimović.
With speed and energy in his locker too, he has all the ingredients to be physically dominant in midfield.
As for transitional play, Thuram is especially effective after Nice wins the ball back because of his ability to drive forward with the ball and his technical skill.