Georginio Wijnaldum does not deserve to be lifted into the bracket of top earners amid contract talks at Liverpool, according to Darren Bent.
The former Tottenham and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted he was stunned to hear the Dutch star is looking to launch himself into the very top wage bracket on Merseyside.
Sky Sports report that the club and player are at a stalemate in contract negotiations as the 30-year-old seeks a deal comparable with the current top earners at Anfield.
Sports contract specialists Spotrac claim the former Newcastle star currently earns £75,000-a-week, with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Thiago, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk said to be on £180,000-a-week-plus deals.
Wijnaldum has started in all but two of Liverpool’s Premier League games this season, although he did come on as a substitute against Everton and Newcastle.
Bent has insisted that while he is a fan of the Netherlands star, there is no way he can demand anywhere near what the very top stars at Liverpool are on.
“He’s been very, very good, but no, I’m not putting him on the same wages as Salah, Mane, even Firmino, for that matter,” Bent told Football Insider.
“The likes of van Dijk, Alisson, Robertson, Trent (Alexander-Arnold), no – don’t get me wrong, he’s been good, he’s been very good, especially when they won the Champions League, his role in the team, but to say he wants to be up there with the big earners, no.
“He’s been part of a very successful team and he deserves to be, I guess, in the same building as them guys because he has played well, there have been times, like in the Champions League semi-final, where I thought he was brilliant.
“But to kind of catapult yourself to where van Dijk is, Alisson, these guys, them two, for instance, changed lives at Liverpool when they came in. Trent and Robertson have been absolutely superb and Salah, breaking records, Mane is Mane, for me one of their best players, if not the best player.
“So to say you want to be on the same kind of level as them, I don’t think so, you can’t get away with that. He certainly deserves a bigger wage than he’s probably on but to say that he wants to be one of the top earners in the same bracket as them guys, no.”