Georginio Wijnaldum came to the Premier League last summer, joining Newcastle in a surprise move, with many considering him good enough to play for a top six club. He had a mixed first season, but his return of 11 goals and 5 assists was very good, especially given Newcastle were relegated. He showed that he was suited to the Premier League and he was one of the few players in the Magpies’ squad that came out of the season with credit. Over the summer, he gave some good performances for the Dutch national side, and the midfielder won’t be keen to play Championship football. He has been linked with Tottenham in recent days, and that could be a move that fits both parties.
Tottenham have to increase the quality and depth to their squad. Last season, Mauricio Pochettino had two sides, with one playing in the Europa League and the other playing in the league. He may look to rotate again this season, but Spurs are to be successful in both competitions, they need to improve the options beneath the first team. Nacer Chadli, Tom Carroll and Ryan Mason were some of the midfield options on the bench. Although they are good players, they aren’t at the level required in the Champions League. It is an area that needs to be improved.
Wijnaldum hasn’t had a great deal of European experience throughout his career and has yet to play in the continent’s premier competition. However, he is a fixture of the Dutch national side and was one of the better players in their failed Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. He is likely to be a key part of the Netherlands future and has the ability to play in the Champions League. The midfielder would be happy to go to Tottenham and fight for a first team berth. He has the ability to play a key role for Spurs and wouldn’t demand a key role. That is why he would be a very good signing for Spurs.
In terms of what he would bring to Spurs, Wijnaldum is capable of playing a number of positions in the midfield and would add quality cover across the board. His best position is behind the striker, but he can play on either wing, or deeper as an eight or six. This tactical flexibility will appeal to Pochettino, who needs to add depth to his midfield. Wijnaldum has an eye for goal, is an excellent passer and has a turn of pace that allows him to beat defenders. He is a good dribbler and likes to run with the ball, which would bring an extra dimension to Tottenham’s attack.
He does need to work on some areas of his game, and his second half of last season showed that. Wijnaldum barely had an impact during the crucial run in for Newcastle and was even dropped by Rafael Benitez towards the end of the season. After the relegation was confirmed, Wijnaldum looked back to his best scoring two goals, which came ironically against Spurs. This may suggest that he struggles to perform under pressure and the fact he failed to score away from home last season is another concern. If he moves to White Hart Lane, he would need to work on his defensive contribution as Pochettino demands hard work from his midfielders. Wijnaldum wasn’t great defensively for Newcastle and it isn’t one the better parts of his game.
If clubs want to sign Wijnaldum, it won’t be as easy as one would imagine. Benitez is keen to keep him at Newcastle and wants to make him a central part of his revolution at St James’ Park. He has already said that he won’t be forced to sell anybody if he doesn’t want to. The Chronicle have reported that the club will only listen to offers significantly more than the £14.5m that they paid 12 months ago. It could take an offer of £20-25m to get the deal done and Tottenham might think that is too much for a player that won’t be in their first eleven. Everton have also been linked and with the transfer kitty they have available, that looks like a move that is more likely. Ronald Koeman is a big fan of the midfielder from his time managing in Holland and could be prepared to pay the fee that Newcastle want. Wijnaldum would be a great addition for Spurs, but they would need to be convinced before they agree to do a deal with Newcastle.