How Gini Wijnaldum’s advice helped Virgil van Dijk make decision to join Liverpool


If Gini Wijnaldum did play a part in helping Liverpool secure the coveted services of his Dutch team-mate Virgil van Dijk, he’s not taking much of the credit.

While Liverpool’s quotient of Brazilians has been reduced by two in the last few months, their Dutch influence is on the rise after the arrival of a £75m man many hope can solve some of the defensive lapses which occasionally blight the team.

Wijnaldum, 27, knows better than most the influence that the towering Van Dijk can bring to a team so how much did he help in persuading his “good friend” that his future was at Anfield and not at the Etihad or Stamford Bridge?

“We spoke a few times. I told him how the club was and everything,” said Wijnaldum.

Georginio Wijnaldum and new Liverpool team-mate Virgil van Dijk line up for Holland

“I told him whatever decision you make just follow your heart.

“You have to deal with that. You do what you want to do. Liverpool is a great club.”

Van Dijk’s heart led him to Anfield and a dream debut with the winner at the Kop end in an historic FA Cup clash with Everton.

And Wijnaldum is already learning new things about his national team-mate just in the short period they have been together at Anfield.

Georginio Wijnaldum during the game between Sevilla and Liverpool
Georginio Wijnaldum during the game between Sevilla and Liverpool
(Image: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

“He is an easy-going, relaxed person who gets along with everyone. He is not someone who only speaks with a few players.

“He always tries to learn, and even though he is a leader he knows he can still get better. Despite the amount of money spent on him and the pressure. Which is a good thing.

” I didn’t even know he was that calm.”

Wijnaldum’s ever-smiling presence will be an added bonus for Van Dijk as he settles in to life at Anfield, just as Wijnaldum himself had to the previous summer after his £25m switch from Newcastle.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Everton
Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Everton
(Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“If he asks me something I will help. I think I will be the first person he will ask because I am Dutch and he is Dutch and we know each other very well.

“We have played with each other and so I will try to help him. But he is easy so if he needs something he will not only come to me he will try to figure it out and if not, he will come to me.”

As well as his physical presence, it’s leadership which many supporters hope to see Van Dijk bring to that Liverpool backline and his compatriot is in no doubt that he will deliver it.

“I see it a lot in the national team. We have only had one game together here so I will have to see how it works out here, but with the national team he speaks a lot in the dressing room.

Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum in action against Leicester City (Photo by James Maloney)

“(When I’m) in midfield we speak a lot together and he talks a lot to help his team-mates and particularly those in front of him.

“That is why he was captain of Southampton before the trouble came.”

That trouble was something which eventually led to a protracted transfer stand-off last summer but Jurgen Klopp eventually got his man in this window.

Double Dutch for Liverpool could be just what…

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