Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed that he was interested in signing Gini Wijnaldum from Liverpool, but the club could not afford Liverpool’s asking price for the player.
Koeman managed the midfielder at the international level while was coach of the Netherlands National Team, and is said to be a fan of the Liverpool man.
Having identified players who had no future at Camp Nou, including Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal, Koeman turned his attention to players who could fit in with his ideology. Gini Wijnaldum was reportedly on his transfer wishlist.
The 29-year-old Wijnaldum has been in spectacular form since signing for the Reds from Newcastle in 2016. No outfield player has played more minutes than him since he arrived at Anfield, proving Jurgen Klopp’s trust in him.
His energetic displays at the heart of midfield and box-to-box abilities are a useful asset to any team, and Koeman was keen on bringing Gini Wijnaldum to Barcelona.
The move did not, however, materialize and the former Feyenoord man will have to remain at Liverpool for at least the next three months.
Ronald Koeman speaks on his admiration for Gini Wijnaldum
Ronald Koeman tried to sign Gini Wijnaldum
Ronald Koeman was unveiled as the new Barcelona manager in August, and he spoke to Football Orange about his interest in Gini Wijnaldum and the restricting factors, saying:
“Gini has a great sense of space, he can get to the goal fantastically well from midfield, he could really add something to the team.””But the financial situation was known to the club. His position ultimately had less priority than, for example, the right-back or the striker position.”
In the end, Barcelona elected to strengthen positions of weakness, with right-back Sergino Dest signed from Ajax, midfielder Miralem Pjanic signed from Juventus, and young winger Trincao signed from Braga.
The Catalans were also linked with a move for Lyon forward Memphis Depay, but nothing ultimately came out of those speculations.
Koeman, however, confirmed that Barcelona would attempt to sign the former Manchester United man in January saying:
“That is certainly a possibility, yes. I will try, because I would like to have him there. But now I can not estimate what the financial situation of the club will be in January. That remains to be seen.”
Gini Wijnaldum has less than a year left on his current deal with Liverpool, and with talks of an extension not forthcoming, Barcelona could agree a pre-contract with him in January.