Former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel has advised his compatriot Georginio Wijnaldum not to leave Anfield, describing it as the worst mistake of his career.
Wijnaldum has less than six months to go on his current contract with the Reds and has reportedly failed to agree fresh terms with the club.
Speaking to the Mirror on the Gini Wijnaldum contract impasse, Babel said:
“I spent almost four years at Liverpool under Rafa Benitez and Kenny Dalglish. When I left to go and play in Germany, where TSG Hoffenheim had become a big force, it was to become the biggest regret of my career.
“The only reason I left was because I wanted to have more playing minutes to keep my place in the Holland team, but you don’t realise how dominating the playing style is at Liverpool until you play in a different team and league.
“I was brought up with really attacking football at Ajax. In the academy, you learn to play that way. When I moved to Liverpool, it was exactly the same. It is in the DNA of the club to play attacking football.”
The former Netherlands international also described his time with Liverpool in a positive light, and highlighted scoring the winner against a fierce rival as his favorite moment.
“I loved every minute I was at Liverpool. Fortunately, Dirk Kuyt was at Liverpool and he was a massive support to me. As a Liverpool player, you are always in the spotlight. The club is massive.
“Scoring the winning goal against Manchester United at Anfield was the highlight of my time,” Babel said.
Can Liverpool afford to let Georginio Wijnaldum leave?
The 30-year-old has been a key member of the team under Jurgen Klopp and his manager is understandably keen on keeping him at Anfield.
Georginio Wijnaldum is the player with the most appearances since his arrival at the Merseyside club five years ago. He has played a crucial role in the successes enjoyed by Liverpool in the last two years.
It was his brace against Barcelona that set Liverpool on their way to winning a sixth Champions League title, while his incredible fitness record means that he is also one of the most reliable players at the club's disposal.
Despite playing in a more withdrawn role at the international level, the former PSV man still contributes to the attacking output of his team. Wijnaldum's versatility also means that he can be deployed in a variety of positions.
Barcelona are among the sides linked with a summer move for the midfielder, as Ronald Koeman is said to be a keen admirer of his compatriot.
Given his importance to the side, Liverpool have to do everything in their power to tie him down to fresh terms, as they might struggle to replace him if he departs.Published 03 Jan 2021, 19:41 IST