Newly-appointed Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman is eyeing a transfer for Liverpool contract rebel and compatriot Georgino Wijnaldum.
Wijnaldum joined Liverpool from Newcastle United in the summer of 2016 and was quickly able to settle in Jurgen Klopp’s high-energy system. He was deployed as a hybrid midfielder who could pull strings from deep and make late runs into the box posing as an attacking threat.
He contributed six goals and nine assists in his debut season for the Reds, but his output has been decreasing steadily since then, even though his importance in the team has increased as he steps into his thirties soon enough.
That said, the 29-year-old has just one year left on his contract and is not too sure about his future in England. He admitted in an interview that it is “difficult to say” what the future holds for him, which has opened up multiple avenues, one of which could see Wijnaldum land up in Barcelona playing under his former national team coach Ronald Koeman.
The 57-year-old managed the Netherlands national team for over two years taking them to UEFA Nations League final where they lost 1-0 to Portugal. Wijnaldum was an essential part of his team, playing in several different positions across the midfield including as a no. 8, 10 and even as the deepest player in a midfield trident.
The Dutchman’s arrival at Barcelona would also mean a reunion with Frenkie de Jong – one of the seven players other than Lionel Messi, Clement Lenglet, Mark-Andre ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Antoine Griezmann, and Ousmane Dembele declared to be “untouchable” and “not for sale” by president Josep Bartomeu.
Despite the potential sales of Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, and Arturo Vidal, Barca will be left with at least five central midfielders including new signings Pedri, Miralem Pjanic, and Matheus Fernandes. Apart from these players, Riqui Puig and Alex Collado are expected to become a permanent part of the first team.
Even though these set of midfielders cover all sorts of positions in the centre, they will be left without an experienced player who could guide them – with most playing their first season in the top flight. This is precisely where the signing of Wijaldum could come into action.
The Dutchman has one Champions League and one Premier League medal to his name and could become the player around which the Barcelona midfield functions.