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What happened to Wijnaldum, from Liverpool hero to psg misfits?

Paris Saint-first Germain's Champions League encounter of the season against Club Brugge was a mismatch, as most observers predicted.

But not in the way that had been expected.

PSG were supposed to blast the Belgians away with their quality, but the home side's energy and tenacity prevented that.

Brugge humiliated PSG's midfield, with Hans Vanaken, a 29-year-old Belgian who is largely unknown outside of his homeland, dominating opponents who have been at the top of the game for years.

Philippe Clement's team proved a fortnight later that the 1-1 draw was no fluke by beating RB Leipzig away, but the scars of the evening have lingered in France.

Mauricio Pochettino's side were thrashed in both the mental and physical aspects of the game, and it's no coincidence that Leandro Parades and Georginio Wijnaldum, two of the three starting midfielders who were found wanting in all areas of the game, have made just one start each since that humiliating experience.

More was expected of Wijnaldum, who had arrived as a free agent in the summer with a lot of potential. After all, the Netherlands international appeared to bring the type of box-to-box ability that PSG's midfield lacked earlier.

Wijnaldum, who was given an emotional guard of honour when he chose to leave Liverpool at the conclusion of last season and was pursued by Barcelona, was expected to provide energy and at least some attacking threat.

This is a relocation that isn't going as planned.

"I can't say I'm entirely satisfied because the scenario isn't what I expected," Wijnaldum said of his current predicament in Paris to NOS. "But that's football, so I'll have to get used to it." I'm a warrior by nature.

“I need to keep an optimistic attitude and work hard to change things around. In recent years, I've played a lot, stayed in shape, and performed admirably. This is a new experience for me, and it will take some time to adjust."

While there has been speculation that the Dutchman was brought in to annoy Barcelona — a club with whom PSG has had a significant rivalry for the past four years – his profile looked to match the 4-3-3 style that Pochettino had been planning to deploy. After all, it was in this setup that the 30-year-old excelled at Anfield.

Wijnaldum, on the other hand, has been a victim of substantial summer upheaval at PSG, where a slew of opportunistic agreements for big-name free agents were made virtually on the spur of the moment.

Pochettino's default system was modified to a 4-2-3-1 after Lionel Messi's arrived, denying the ex-Newcastle man the chance to play in his finest role.

Meanwhile, players returning late from international duty, notably PSG's European champions Marco Verratti and Gianluigi Donnarumma, as well as a slew of South Americans, hampered the start of the season.

After being without a number of key players for a long time, Wijnaldum was given the chance to make an immediate impact in Paris... simply in a series of positions he would not have chosen.

Rather than operating primarily in his usual central midfield role, he was asked to play out on the right and as a No.10. These are not stock roles for Wijnaldum, who nevertheless showed a capability to play such positions at Liverpool, where he clearly benefited from the complicity of those around him.

“He’s not a bad player, but he needs a structure and there isn’t one yet at PSG,” Thierry Henry explained when working as a pundit for Amazon Prime's coverage of Ligue 1.

“It reminds me of Saul Niguez, who is also struggling at Chelsea. Fabinho had also struggled – it took him six months to get used to the structure at Liverpool.

Wijnaldum needs to come up with a solution. I'm attempting to play the role of the devil's advocate. You have to admit that he wasn't very good when he played."

PSG and Wijnaldum have been hampered by the regular autumn international breaks, with Wijnaldum's only appearance since the Brugge thrashing coming in a 2-1 Ligue 1 victory over bottom-placed Metz in midweek.

Others, though, have adjusted to this stop-start pattern better than Wijnaldum, whose struggles in Paris have been emphasized by reports that he is on the verge of leaving.

Everyone at PSG has had a difficult start to the season, but no one has had it harder than Wijnaldum.

Content created and supplied by: Dwanemw (via Opera News )

Brugge Champions League Liverpool PSG Wijnaldum


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