On this day four years ago, Georginio Wijnaldum became a Newcastle United player.
The Dutch midfielder arrived for £14.5 million from PSV Eindhoven, the first signing made during Steve McClaren’s tenure.
It was an expensive summer for Newcastle, who also splashed out on Aleksandar Mitrovic, Chancel Mbemba and Florian Thauvin.
The latter has really recovered since his Newcastle nightmare, but it is Wijnaldum who has been the biggest success.
He would score on his Magpies debut, netting a brilliant header in a 2-2 draw with Southampton. He became a real hit with supporters, scoring some stunning goals and providing some excellent performances. The only issue was he could only do it at St James’ Park.
Wijnaldum ended the season with 11 goals, all of which were scored at home. His performances away from home left a lot to be desired, with the midfielder often going missing.
By the end of the season, Newcastle had been relegated, but Wijnaldum did not kick up a fuss. While he was certainly a class above the Championship, he didn’t make a big song and dance about leaving like some of his teammates.
He would join Liverpool for £25 million, and now he’s a Champions League winner. Wijnaldum played a key role in winning the trophy, scoring twice in the famous semi-final comeback against Barcelona.
The 28-year-old has not forgotten his time at Newcastle though. On the anniversary of his arrival in England, Wijnaldum wrote on social media: “Wow, it was four years ago today that I signed for my first club outside the Netherlands. My season at Newcastle helped me grow and develop massively as a player.”
Wow, it was 4 years ago today that I signed for my first club outside the Netherlands. My season at Newcastle helped me grow and develop massively as a player. #OnThisDay 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/MNk0Y8w9tM
— Gini Wijnaldum (@GWijnaldum) July 11, 2019
Fans have responded to his kind words with grace. Signing players like Wijnaldum seems like a distant memory with the monumental mess we’re in now.
Newcastle fans miss Wijnaldum
One of the better players we’ve had over the past few years, didn’t complain at all when we were relegated and just got on with it until you moved to Liverpool, will never forget those 4 goals against Norwich.
— Adam. (@AdamNUFC_) July 11, 2019
I miss you 😢 good luck on winning the league with Liverpool
— Liam (@LiamNUFC1998) July 11, 2019
Bet your glad your not here now
— graeme vacher (@vash56) July 11, 2019
Best thing you ever son leave my club it’s rotten to the core
— steverob (@stevertaxis) July 11, 2019
i miss u so much
— jake (@jakevmurray) July 11, 2019
I still love you Gini 🎩🔮
— Shay 🗡 (@ShayBarrett24) July 11, 2019
Class player. Glad you’ve developed as expected at Liverpool, but a massive shame you weren’t at Newcastle longer.
— Mohsin Khan (@mkhan185) July 11, 2019