Pundit Exclusive: Klopp has already secured Liverpool 'Legend' replacement
Darren Bent has suggested Jurgen Klopp already has a replacement in place for Georginio Wijnaldum amid contract discussions at Liverpool.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Tottenham and England striker has admitted it would be “criminal” to let the 30-year-old leave on a free in the summer but insisted he is by no means irreplaceable.
Sky Sports report that Liverpool and Wijnaldum have reached a stalemate in contract negotiations, with the Netherlands international’s current terms set to expire at the end of the season.
The former Newcastle star has been a mainstay for Jurgen Klopp this term with 24 appearances from a possible 26 under his belt.
However, despite playing a key role in the Reds’ Champions League and Premier League success, Bent has suggested the Premier League giants already have enough players who could fill Wijnaldum’s boots.
Asked if Liverpool could afford to lose the midfielder on a free, Bent told Football Insider: “It would be criminal but he is one of them players, I think he’s very good, I’ve liked him from when he was at Newcastle but he’s not a player that they can’t replace.
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“He is good but say Salah said: ‘Give me this or I’m leaving,’ then I’d be like: ‘Well you better give him what he wants.’ Mane, van Dijk, Alisson, Alexander-Arnold – these guys are irreplaceable. You can’t and find a better right-back than Trent to do the same job, nor Robertson, nor a centre-back and especially not a goalkeeper.
“I think someone like Wijnaldum, if eventually you don’t get to do the deal, you’ve still got in the middle of the park Jordan Henderson, Thiago, who’s obviously superb, Oxlade-Chamberlain if he can stay fit, Naby Keita, Milner can stay in there and do a job, Curtis Jones is coming through.
“They’ve got players, I’ve just named six – I didn’t even mention Fabinho – they’ve got seven players in there that can all play.
“So listen, I like Wijnaldum, he’s been a great servant and he’ll go down as a legend for what he’s done in this period at Liverpool Football Club, but to go all out and give him what he wants, they don’t need to do that.”