Wijnaldum Will Offer Roma and Mourinho a Plethora of Tactical Solutions

On Thursday, hundreds of Roma fans flocked to the airport, giving Georginio Wijnaldum a warm welcome. Perhaps the excitement at the capital had reached its climax when Paulo Dybala donned the famous Giallorossi jersey in what can only be described as an epic unveiling, but the arrival of the former Liverpool hero was still met with great joy, as the hot Roman summer is turning out to be a highly memorable one.

Despite his recent struggles at Paris Saint-Germain, the 31-year-old remains a highly-rated midfielder who can function in various roles, and his addition will surely provide José Mourinho with a plethora of tactical solutions, as he joins other summer signings, including Dybala, Nemanja Matic and Zeki Celik.

So let’s check out some of the tactical lineups that the Special One could adopt throughout the course of the upcoming campaign now that Wijnaldum has arrived to bolster his ranks.

The Status Quo

During the later stages of the previous campaign, Roma mostly settled on a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Nicolò Zaniolo and Lorenzo Pellegrini supporting Tammy Abraham upfront.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan played in the double pivot alongside Bryan Cristante. So while the latter will have to fend off the threat of Matic to maintain a regular spot, Wijnaldum will probably act as a direct replacement for the Armenian who signed for Inter this summer.

Unfortunately for Zaniolo, he would be the main scapegoat in this lineup – that is in the case where he stays at the club for next season.

(3-4-2-1): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Wijnaldum, Spinazzola; Dybala, Pellegrini; Abraham  

The All-Attacking Roma

So what if Zaniolo stays put at Roma for next season and delivers the type of exciting performances that forces Mourinho’s hand?

Surely the Giallorossi won’t put Dybala on the bench if he’s fit enough to start, while Pellegrini remains an indispensable member of the team and a true leader on the pitch.

Would the Portuguese manager be willing to unleash a formation that features a host of attacking talent while lacking a true holding midfielder?

This one remains improbable, but it’s worth a mention.

(3-4-2-1): Patricio; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Celik, Pellegrini, Wijnaldum, Spinazzola; Dybala, Zaniolo; Abraham  

Mou’s Specialty

Following Dybala’s arrival, many observers speculated a return to the tactician’s favorite formation (4-2-3-1), which would perfectly suit La Joya, while allowing Zaniolo and Pellegrini to join in as hybrid wingers.

While we’re not exactly sure how Wijnaldum would cope in such formation, he would probably act as one half of the double-pivot but with a license to go forward and support his new Roma teammates upfront.

(4-2-3-1): Patricio; Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Cristante, Wijnaldum; Zaniolo, Dybala, Pellegrini; Abraham

The Classic

As we all know, the 31-year-old’s best days came while serving as a part of Jurgen Klopp’s midfield trio at Liverpool. The Dutchman found great success while acting as a box-to-box midfielder on the left side.

So if Roma end up switching to the classic 4-3-3 formation (or a similar lineup), Wijnaldum would be able to feature in his preferred position. But whether the rest of the squad would be suited to this tactical solution is another debate.

(4-3-3): Patricio; Karsdorp, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Pellegrini; Cristante, Wijnaldum; Dybala, Abraham, Zaniolo

Tight Diamond

This one isn’t too different from the previous one, but it adopts a more cautious approach, with the middle of the park jammed with holding midfielders and physically-strong players, while Dybala and Abraham are unleashed upfront.

(4-4-2 diamond): Patricio; Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Spinazzola; Matic; Cristante, Wijnaldum; Pellegrini; Dybala, Abraham

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