Online trolls did not force Wijnaldum’s Anfield exit but it has highlighted a ‘major issue’ – The Athletic

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James Pearce has highlighted FSG’s failure to hand Gini Wijnaldum “attractive enough terms” as the main cause for the Dutchman’s departure from Anfield on a free this summer.

It had been suggested that social media abuse suffered by the player had factored into such a decision, though this has been since refuted.

“It’s important to stress that Wijnaldum wasn’t suggesting for a minute that his treatment at the hands of the trolls convinced him to leave,” the renowned reporter wrote for The Athletic.

“The reality is that he would still be at Anfield now if FSG had returned to the negotiating table with attractive enough terms.

“Liverpool don’t have a monopoly on cowards who hide behind the anonymity of social media accounts and target players with foul-mouthed abuse when the team’s fortunes dip.

“He will discover that soon enough at star-studded PSG, who have a smaller but still global fanbase.

“However, Wijnaldum has shone a light on what is a major issue for clubs and players, who have grown increasingly frustrated at the abject failure of social media companies to properly police their platforms.

“The argument that these are multi-millionaires who should be able to ‘take it’ or that it ‘comes with the territory’ is ignorant at best.

“The same goes for those who argue players should just avoid reading the comments on their posts.”

The former No.5 has since made a switch to PSG, signing a three-year deal that will keep him in the French capital until 2024.

When considering the debates over the reasoning for Wijnaldum’s Merseyside exit, it’s important to not lose sight of the main issue underlying the player’s comments – online abuse.

Pearce is correct to point out that it is not an issue endemic to Liverpool but rather a global concern in dire need of a united response from those caretakers in charge of social media platforms.

When debating over the extent to which such abuse factored into our former midfielder star’s departure, we’re essentially losing sight of the core issue at hand.

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