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Georginio Wijnaldum explains why he chose Newcastle United over PSG

2 days ago
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Georginio Wijnaldum has proved to be a massive hit in the Premier League.

The Dutch international winning the title with Liverpool, as well as helping them to win the Champions League.

The scousers also finishing runners up in both competitions during the time Georginio Wijnaldum spent at Anfield.

Yet ironically, the very best personal return in the league from Georginio Wijnaldum outside of Dutch club football was the 2015/16 season, when Newcastle United were relegated.

From midfield, he was directly involved in 16 Premier League goals, scoring eleven and getting five assists.

After a £25m move to Liverpool after Newcastle’s relegation, Georginio Wijnaldum came close to matching that total, ending up directly involved in 15 Premier League goals in 2016/17 – scoring six and assisting nine.

The next four seasons at Liverpool saw Wijnaldum used in a more withdrawn role and he only added ten more Premier League goals and two PL assists in those four years.

It looked a real quality signing at the time and so it proved BUT as always, Mike Ashley included that signing in an overall very daft plan, which involved trying to turn a team around that had only survived relegation on the final day of the previous season, by employing a patsy / stooge manager and relying totally on bringing in young overseas untried players who Ashley hoped to sell for massive profits in the future. The 24 year old Georginio Wijnaldum was a big hit but to then be relying on three other big money signings from overseas who were only aged 22 (Thauvin) and 20 (both Mitrovic and Mbemba) proved disastrous. Mike Ashley ensuring relegation when leaving it far too late to sack McClaren and bring in a proper manager like Rafa Benitez.

As for Georginio Wijnaldum, he left Liverpool at the end of his contract as a free agent this summer and moved to PSG.

However, now in a big interview with L’equipe, Georginio Wijnaldum has now revealed why he originally turned down a previous move to PSG in favour of joining Newcastle United back in 2015.

Georginio Wijnaldum speaking to L’equipe on why he snubbed the Ligue 1 side in favour of Newcastle (translation vis Sport Witness):

“That’s right, yes.

“In fact, the first contacts date back to 2014, after the World Cup. PSG had tried to bring me in but I wanted to stay at PSV Eindhoven for at least another year or try to be the Dutch champion before leaving.

“I also wanted to stay with Memphis [Depay]. I had been injured for a long time the previous season and felt a bit indebted to the club and the fans.

“After that [winning the title with PSV], I was more open to the idea of ​​leaving and PSG came back. But at that point I didn’t feel a real urge to sign.

“I chose [instead] to go to Newcastle, who really wanted me and made me understand it.”

L’equipe further quizzed the midfielder whether his decision to pick Newcastle over PSG was simply down to his desire to play in the Premier League:

“Not necessarily. I wanted to play in the Premier League one day but hadn’t decided when exactly.

“My agent was negotiating with PSG. I also spoke with the club. But I never felt that I was really wanted.

“It was more, ‘OK, you have to play well or you want to be one among the rest.’ I was also at a point in my life when, having experienced everything in the Netherlands, I needed to keep playing.

“And, at that point, PSG didn’t give me the impression that it was the right choice.”

GFFN have also reported on the L’equipe interview with Georgino Wijnaldum:

On what Pochettino told him this summer and in 2016, when he tried to sign him for Spurs:

‘He didn’t say, “listen, this is how we’re going to play”, because I already knew how he works. Even if there’s always adjustments to make depending on your squad. Back in 2016, he set out how he manages, the style of play he likes, and so on. Because of that, this summer’s conversation was actually quite short. He asked me whether I was open to what Paris were offering, and spoke to me about the project and what they wanted to do.

‘I was transparent, I told them I’d been speaking to Barcelona but that an agreement hadn’t been reached. If I had signed something, I wouldn’t have gone back on it, but here that wasn’t the case.’

On how Pochettino plans to use him:

‘When we spoke in 2016, he talked about a match between Spurs and Newcastle where I played on the left wing and did well. He said, “I’m not a coach who wants to put their players in fixed positions. Of course there are baseline tasks, but I want you to feel free to bring everything you can do to the table”. That worked perfectly for me, I don’t like to be stuck in a fixed position.’

Ironically, despite Newcastle ending up relegated that 2015/16 season and Tottenham battling all year for the title with Leicester, NUFC amazingly did the double over Spurs.

A 2-1 win with Mitro and Perez scoring at White Hart Lane in December 2015, then a bizarre final game of the season at St James Park. Despite already relegated, Newcastle fans sold out SJP in an attempt to persuade Rafa Benitez to stay and help rebuild NUFC from the second tier, it ended up in a thumping 5-1 victory for a ten men (Mitro sent off) Newcastle, with Georginio Wijnaldum scoring twice (Aarons, Mitro and Janmaat getting the other goals.

Most definitely a case of what might have been for Newcastle United, both with Georginio Wijnaldum…and Rafa Benitez.

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