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Bissouma? Goncalves? ​Five players Liverpool could sign to replace Wijnaldum this summer

Georginio Wijnaldum was touted to do great things at Anfield after joining Liverpool from Newcastle backin 2016 - and judging by how much Liverpool has grown since his arrival, it's fair to say he has surpassed expectations.

The Dutchman made major contributions to Liverpool's dominant title victory last season, but as things stand, the 2019/2020 season may have been Wijnaldum's last title-winning season with Liverpool as his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and reports suggests he won't renew his contract with Liverpool, with Chelsea and Barcelona showing interest in his services.

With Wijnaldum poised to exit the club at the end of the season, here's a look at five players who could replace the Dutchman and replicate his impact on Liverpool's midfield.

Pedro Goncalves - Sporting CP

With the recent acquisition of Spanish playmaker, Thiago Alcantara, it appears Jurgen Klopp is looking to structure his midfield as more of a creative unit than a physical one.

If that is the plan for the rest of Klopp's tenure at Liverpool, then Pedro Goncalves would be an excellent addition to Klopp's current group of players.

Pedro is emerging as Sporting CP's talisman at the young age of 22, in their charge for the Portuguese league title.

Goncalves operates primarily in the space just behind the striker for Sporting CP but the youngster has also been deployed as a central midfielder on a number of occasions.

If Klopp's transformation of an attacking-minded midfielder [Wijnaldum] into one of the best press-resistant box-to-box midfielders is anything to go by, then he can surely work his magic again on Goncalves and make his presence hold as much weight as Wijnaldum.

Yves Bissouma - Brighton & Hove Albion

If Liverpool is on the lookout for a battle-tested midfielder that already has a technical profile similar to that of Wijnaldum, then Bissouma is the man for them.

The 24-year old roaming midfielder operates as the right central midfielder in Graham Potter 3-4-2-1 formation.

He is typically paired with a more defensive minded player, as this allows him to get involved in different phases of Brighton's play without worrying too much about his defensive responsibilities.

A Mali international, Bissouma boasts great passing, dribbling and an engine that lets him carry the ball across long distances on the pitch, and in addition to that, he has a working knowledge of the Premier League, which as history has shown, is a huge advantage considering the amount of time it takes for players to adapt to the league's rigours.

Bissouma would be an excellent replacement for Wijnaldum, but it remains to be seen if Klopp will make a move for him.

Denis Zakaria - Borussia Monchengladbach

Being 6ft 2in, Zakaria boasts a strong physical presence on the pitch, but his physicality is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his play.

Zakaria is ridiculously composed - he knows how to bait players into giving the ball away, which allows him to consistently win the ball back and keep things tidy in the middle of the park.

The Switzerland star is also decent going forward. Although not a particularly nimble dribbler,he's great at keeping the ball under control and he's even better at distributing it.

Zakaria and Fabinho could form a midfield partnership that will invoke fear into the hearts of any opposition they come up against, and in turn, lead Liverpool to silverware.

Fabian Ruiz - Napoli

Wijnaldum's transformation from an attacking role to a more midfield-centric role is one of the things that distinguished him from other midfielders.

While he had to learn a lot of defensive qualities, he was already great at creating goalscoring opportunities which made him an absolute menace in midfield.

This is why Fabian Ruiz feels like a good fit for Jurgen Klopp's system.

You see, like Wijnaldum, Ruiz has already undergone his transformation at Napoli.

The former winger has adjusted to a central midfield role and his attacking qualities have helped him excel in the middle of the park.

He could potentially come to Anfield and replicate Wijnaldum's impact at the club, considering they both have similar positional backgrounds.

Ruiz is 6'2, pacey, great with the ball at his feet while also possessing decent defensive qualities. He's relatively unknown outside of the Serie A, but he has the potential to make an instant impact in the heart of Liverpool's midfield.

Mahmoud Dahoud - Borussia Dortmund

Dahoud is a technically gifted midfielder. He boasts the ability to turn the tide of a match to his team's favour in the blink of an eye.

He's not particularly pacy, but he possesses mesmerising ball control as well as a good eye for a pass as evidenced by his 86% passing accuracy.

The 25-year-old has found playing time hard to come by lately having started just nine league games for Dortmund this season, one of which saw him win a man of the match award.

His lack of playing time could serve as a catalyst for a move out of Dortmund - and perhaps to Liverpool, if Klopp shows some interest in his services.

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Phillip Ekuwem
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