Newcastle United at danger of losing Georginio Wijnaldum after just one season

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After a return of nine goals in 22 Premier League outings this season, there can be no doubt as to Georginio Wijnaldum’s status as Newcastle United’s best signing of last summer.

And it would appear the 25-year-old’s impressive form hasn't gone unnoticed, with Sky Sports Fantasy Football ranking him as the best signing of the season so far, ahead of Petr Cech.

Such praise is more than justified for a player who has taken to the English top-flight with aplomb, currently outperforming countryman and big-money Manchester United arrival Memphis Depay.


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But for all the furore surrounding Wijnaldum’s form, there must surely be some fans out there feeling slightly concerned, because when it comes to Newcastle and emerging talent, it can often end in disappointment for Toon fans.

The Magpies have become something of a selling club in recent times under Mike Ashley - and you can go back even further for such evidence in Dietmar Hamann.

Like Wijnaldum, the German arrived at St James’ Park as a highly-rated but relatively unproven star-in-the-making. In and out of the team at previous club Bayern Munich, the switch to Newcastle gave the midfielder his chance to shine.

And shine he did, with a tally of five goals in 31 appearances for the Magpies representing the second best return in a single campaign of his entire career.

He looked a player perfectly primed for the Premier League and in possession of a right foot that was capable of the sublime.

Unfortunately for Hamann, though, Newcastle were in some way short of their best position. Then-manager Kenny Dalglish, who signed the German after the 1998 World Cup, was sacked with Ruud Gullit his replacement.

The results did not follow, with Newcastle enduring an underwhelming 1998/99 campaign in which they narrowly avoided relegation.

Hamann headed off in search of bigger and better things with Liverpool and enjoyed during a trophy-laden spell on Merseyside - and yet it could have been so different.

For the German, it was about pursuing the chance of winning silverware and doing so with a better organised and superior club.

Now, some 17 years on, Newcastle supporters should be wary of a similar story playing out with Wijnaldum.

In the midst of a relegation dogfight and already out of both cup competitions, there will be plenty of clubs who have already had a look at Wijnaldum.

A breakout star alongside Depay at PSV Eindhoven last term, many were evidently opposed to the idea of gambling on young Dutch talent given the contrasting fortunes endured by various Eredivisie stars in the Premier League.

But there can be few doubts about Wijnaldum’s quality now and the Toon may need to move quickly if they're to avoid a repeat of Hamann’s one-season stay.

An improved contract could be a good start, while promises about the club’s future plans may also offer Wijnaldum a clearer view of the future.

The results on-pitch are improving and with Steve McClaren beginning to show signs of steadying the ship, the timing could be much worse.

But Newcastle and Ashley need to do something they have often avoided in the past: secure the long-term futures of the team’s biggest and best stars.

Wijnaldum may have only just burst on the scene, but what Newcastle do next could determine whether he becomes the next Hamann, another Yohan Cabaye or, hopefully, a midfield stalwart to rival the likes of Rob Lee.

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Premier League
Newcastle United
Alan Shearer

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