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Wijnaldum admits PSG role was ‘not what he wanted’

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Gini Wijnaldum left Liverpool after a happy and successful five years in July, but upon a lucrative move to PSG, the Dutchman has found himself frustrated with game time.

Wijnaldum was one of the most important players in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad throughout his time on Merseyside, with only James Milner and Roberto Firmino making more appearances.

But with the club reluctant to hand him a pay rise and a new long-term contract at 30, the midfielder opted to depart on a free transfer in the summer.

Barcelona and Bayern Munich were among the sides interested, but Wijnaldum agreed to join PSG on a three-year deal worth a reported £300,000 a week, joining Mauricio Pochettino in Paris.

He arrived in Ligue 1 two months before Lionel Messi’s shock decision to swap Barcelona for PSG, with the landscape shifting at the Parc des Princes following the arrival of the legendary forward.

PARIS, FRANCE - Wednesday, August 11, 2021: Lionel Messi signs for Paris Saint-Germain Football Club from FC Barcelona, pictured at the Parc des Princes. (©PSG)

It is fair to say the side is now built around Messi, despite injury issues limiting his minutes so far, and Wijnaldum has at times been sacrificed to accommodate him.

Speaking to Dutch outlet NOS this week, Wijnaldum admitted that he is not “completely happy” with his situation at PSG.

“I can’t say I’m completely happy, because the situation is not what I wanted,” he said.

“But that’s football and I’ll have to learn to deal with that. I’m a fighter. I have to stay positive and work hard to turn it around.”

Even when Messi is not playing, Wijnaldum has not always been a first-choice pick for Pochettino, who of late has preferred the likes of Ander Herrera, Leandro Paredes, Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gueye in a three-man midfield.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JUNE 26: Georginio Wijnaldum of Netherlands looks on during the Netherlands Training Session ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Czech Republic at Puskas Arena on June 26, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (UEFA)

Wijnaldum has effectively gone from undroppable at Liverpool to being a squad player for PSG, with Danilo Pereira, Rafinha and Junior Dina Ebimbe also battling for game time.

That should have been expected, of course, and though the contract issue at Anfield was not entirely his doing, it is hard to escape the feeling that this was always going to be the case at PSG.

“I have played a lot in recent years, was always fit and also did very well. This is something different and that takes getting used to,” Wijnaldum added.

“I was really looking forward to the new step and then this happens. It is very difficult.”

As Klopp told Philippe Coutinho in 2017: “Stay here, and they will end up building a statue in your honour. Go somewhere else…and you will be just another player.”

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