Georginio Wijnaldum will decide this week whether to sign a new contract with Liverpool, with Ronald Koeman still hoping to persuade the midfielder to join him at Barcelona.
The 30-year-old could become a free agent when his contract with Anfield expires in June, and he can speak with foreign clubs and sign a pre-contract deal when the January transfer window opens on Friday.
Koeman was keen to bring Wijnaldum to Barcelona when he arrived this summer, but talks about a move never materialized.
The two have a close relationship having worked together during Koeman’s tenure as boss of the Netherlands, with Wijnaldum playing a central role as the Oranje reached the Nations League final in 2019.
The player is considering a new contract offer to Liverpool and has told the club he will give them his answer in the coming days – ahead of any potential decision to open talks with other clubs.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has pushed for the Netherlands international to stay but said last month that his ongoing contract issue had no impact on their relationship, and he remains optimistic about the midfielder’s future.
“I would be happy if he stayed here. I’m pretty happy with Gini as you can see by looking at most of the lineups,” Klopp said.
“He always played well, that’s why he played so many games. I don’t remember a lot of bad games to be honest.
“He’s played for us in many different positions and he’s having a good time thank God. Let this continue for a long time.”
Last month, Wijnaldum downplayed reports that he close to a summer move to Spain, but added “we’ll see what happens” when his deal ends next summer.
The Reds have strengthened their midfield this summer, signing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich for £ 25million, providing competition for the likes of Wijnaldum.
The Dutchman initially signed for Liverpool from Newcastle on a £ 25million contract in 2016 and scored 20 goals in 208 appearances for the club, becoming the Premier League and Champions League winner at Anfield.
“ Barca must sell before they can buy ”
Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero told Sky Sports News:
Wijnaldum is a very well known player here in Spain. But there is a huge problem – Barcelona president [Carles] Tusquets recognized himself yesterday, as Leo Messi said, that Barcelona are in a very difficult economic situation.
Sure, Ronald Koeman wants Wijnaldum, he also wants Memphis Depay from Olympique Lyonnais and Eric Garcia from Manchester City, but let’s see how they can pay them off.
A few weeks ago Tusquets admitted that there would be problems for Barca players to earn their salary in January so it’s a tough situation and I guess if Barcelona want to buy players they would have to sell before next summer so it’s going to be a tough market for Barcelona in June, July and August.
‘Liverpool will want Wijnaldum issue fixed in January’
ESPN senior football analyst Gabriele Marcotti told Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk podcast:
“How many times have we seen players frozen as their contracts expired at clubs? But that just doesn’t happen with Wijnaldum at Liverpool. Klopp continues to pick him, he scored a brilliant goal against Wolves, and There is a lot of respect from Klopp to Wijnaldum and the situation he finds himself in.
“Wijnaldum is 30 years old now, and I think Klopp recognizes that his next contract will probably be the most important of his career, whether it be at Liverpool or elsewhere. I think Liverpool will want this settled next month.”
“Does he want to go to Barcelona when the management situation at Nou Camp is so fragile? Is Ronald Koeman going to last the season, and if Koeman is the reason he’s wanted at Barcelona, has that does it impact things? “