Liverpool: Wijnaldum comments as contract saga goes on
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Georginio Wijnaldum has finally sealed his move to Barcelona after penning a pre-contract agreement with the Spanish giants, according to reports. The 30-year-old’s future has been shrouded with uncertainty for some time, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.
The Liverpool midfielder is set to become the first signing of Joan Laporta’s second spell as Barca president after the 58-year-old was elected to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu earlier this month.
Wijnaldum has been able to negotiate a free transfer with foreign clubs since the turn of the year, with the Catalan outfit at the forefront of the speculation over his potential destination.
Ronald Koeman, who managed the midfielder during his stint as Netherlands boss, is known to be a huge fan of the player, identifying him as a priority target immediately upon his arrival at Barca in August.
He was interested in signing Wijnaldum during pre-season, but the club were prevented from securing his services by their ongoing financial difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it seems as though Koeman will get his wish at the end of the season, with Wijnaldum’s move to the Nou Camp already signed and sealed according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.
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The versatile Dutchman, who is usually deployed in a box-to-box role in the middle of the park, was a key part of the Liverpool side that scooped a sixth Champions League triumph in 2019 before helping the Reds to end their Premier League title drought a year later.
The possibility of his departure has been an issue for Jurgen Klopp since the beginning of the campaign, with the German boss admitting earlier this season that he would like to keep Wijnaldum at the club beyond the summer transfer window.
“I would be happy if he would stay here,” Klopp told reporters in December. “I am pretty happy with Gini. You can see that when you see most of the line-ups.
“He always played good, that’s why he played so many games. I cannot remember a lot of bad games to be honest.
“He played for us in plenty of different positions and he is in a good moment, thank God. Long may it continue.
“I don’t know how many games he’s played since I’ve been here, it’s good and there’s nothing else to say about it. As long as nothing is decided everything is possible, I am positive.”
Wijnaldum has featured heavily for Liverpool this season, with only Andrew Robertson and Mohamed Salah playing more minutes than the former Newcastle United man since the beginning of the campaign.
His impending departure appears to confirm that Barca’s transfer plan for the summer months will largely focus on recruiting free agents in order to mitigate the effects of their crippling financial woes.
The likes of Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon hotshot Memphis Depay have also been mentioned in connection with the Catalan giants ahead of next season.
Koeman suggested back in October that he would mount a fresh approach for Wijnaldum during the second half of the campaign after failing to land him in pre-season.
“That is certainly a possibility, yes,” Koeman told reporters when quizzed on whether he would maintain his pursuit of the player.
“I will try, because I would like to have him. But now, I can not estimate what the financial situation of the club will be in January.”
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