One day after the transfer deadline in many European leagues, Saudi Arabia have brought another prominent name to the desert: Georginio Wijnaldum (32) is moving from PSG to Al-Ettifaq – where the Dutchman will meet old acquaintances.
Jürgen Klopp was also preoccupied with the circumstance as early as the beginning of August. While no players can be signed in many top European leagues since 2 September, the league in Saudi Arabia, for example, is allowed to continue its blithe shopping – until 20 September. “At least for us in Europe, this is not helpful. UEFA or FIFA have to find a solution for this,” demanded the German coach of Liverpool FC.
A first prominent name to be drawn to the Saudi Professional League after the Ligue 1 transfer deadline is Georginio Wijnaldum. However, the fact that the 90-time Dutch international is leaving Paris Saint-Germain seems to be of only limited concern to the reigning French champions. The press release late on Saturday night is brief, contains no voice – neither from Wijnaldum nor from anyone in charge. Apparently, no obstacles were placed in the midfielder’s path.
PSG is happy to take the eight million euros that are reportedly being paid for the transfer. Only a few hours earlier, the capital club had “treated” itself to the 95-million-euro transfer of Randal Kolo Muani. Wijnaldum only hears about him from afar. The 32-year-old is leaving in the autumn of his career to join Al-Ettifaq, who have signed him to a three-year contract until 30 June 2026, according to consistent media reports.
The Rotterdam native may have convinced coach Steven Gerrard and midfield leader Jordan Henderson (33), who also joined the Saudi Arabian club this summer, to make a move. Wijnaldum played for Liverpool FC between 2016 and 2021, making 237 competitive appearances (22 goals, 16 assists) during that time. He had the most successful period of his career with the Reds, winning the Premier League title in 2020, the Champions League title in 2019, the UEFA Super Cup triumph in 2019 and the Club World Cup in 2019.
Only 38 competitive games for PSG
Wijnaldum had joined PSG on a free transfer from Liverpool in the summer of 2021. For the Frenchmen, the driver, who has also often been struggling in recent years, made just 38 competitive appearances (three goals, three assists), was loaned to Roma in the 2022/23 season (14 times Serie A, nine times Europa League – two goals, one assist) – and has now left for good.
At Al-Ettifaq, Wijnaldum will once again form the central midfield unit together with Henderson. Gerrard had also lured the Scottish centre-back Jack Hendry and the French attacker Moussa Dembelé to the desert in the summer. After five matchdays, Wijnaldum’s new club is fifth – just three points behind leaders Al-Hilal.