Gini Wijnaldum: Barcelona in advanced talks for midfielder, €15-€20m fee proposed

[tps_footer][/tps_footer]New reports have emerged that Barcelona are interested in acquiring the services of Gini Wijnaldum and have engaged his agents in advanced talks over the proposed transfer.

The Dutch international has just one year left on his current deal with Liverpool and according to Spanish daily Sport, the Blaugrana would pay a fee in the range of €15-20m for a three-year contract.

Wijnaldum spent the fist nine years of his professional career in the Eredivisie, representing Feyenoord and PSV Eindhoven before sealing a transfer to Newcastle United in 2015.

However, the Toons’ relegation saw him join Liverpool just a year later and since then, he has played a key role in the successes enjoyed by Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Despite this, it looks increasingly likely that he would join the Spanish giants this summer, as he has not agreed new terms with Liverpool.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has reportedly made Gini Wijnaldum his prime target of the summer, having been enamored by the midfielder during his time coaching him in the Netherlands national team.

While it might seem inconceivable to Liverpool fans that their energetic midfielder would depart the club this summer, options are really limited for the Merseysiders, as the alternative would be to lose him for free next season.

How would Gini Wijnaldum fit in at out-of-sorts Barcelona?

The month of August 2020 was unarguably one of the gloomiest in Barcelona’s long and illustrious history .

Still smarting from the incredulous loss of their LaLiga crown to bitter rivals Real Madrid the month before, the Blaugrana went on to suffer the worst imaginable humiliation in their 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

This was similar to their collapse in the semifinal last season at the hands of Liverpool (Wijnaldum made it possible) the season before and had far-reaching consequences for the Catalan outfit.

Chief of this was Lionel Messi’s shock decision to depart Barcelona for free, while manager Quique Setien was also sacked.

With Messi’s situation now resolved, attention has turned to the rebuilding plans for Ronald Koeman and Gini Wijnaldum would seemingly play a key role under the former Everton gaffer.

Tenacious and reliable, the 29-year-old is a prime box-to-box player and following the departure of Ivan Rakitic to Sevilla, Wijnaldum could enter the fray as a potential replacement in central midfield.

Ivan Rakitic joins Sevilla
Ivan Rakitic has signed for Sevilla

In his four years with Liverpool, the former Newcastle man has made 187 appearances in all competitions, scoring 19 goals and creating 18 assists.

He has earned praise for his versatility and has been deployed in a variety of positions in different formations, while his longevity and reliability has seen him make more appearances than any other player since his arrival in 2016.

He missed just one game as Liverpool finally won the Premier League last season, while he also appeared in all of their Champions League fixtures.

Wijnaldum’s status as one of three vice-captains of the club means he has a high-standing in his manager’s eyes and Klopp has expressed his admiration for the former PSV man on several occasions in the past, saying ”he has all the things you need {from a midfielder}.”

Although his attacking impact on the game is somewhat limited, he makes up for this with his drive and desire, and there is hardly any player who covers more blades of grass than Gini Wijnaldum whenever he is on the field.

With a severe lack of creativity in midfield, this is hardly comforting for Barcelona fans, but if the Dutch international arrives, they would be getting a proven international with a track record of performing on the big stages.

How Liverpool would manage in his absence remains to be seen, although reports suggest that they could use proceeds of his sale to fund the transfer of Thiago Alcantara.

Both players, of course, have different skill sets, as whereas the Spanish international is more technical and aesthetic in his style, Wijnaldum operates in a more direct manner.

Gini Wijnaldum
Naby Keita has a poor injury record

The departure of Adam Lallana to Brighton leaves Klopp one man short in midfield, although he would be banking on Naby Keita to remain fit, while youngster Curtis Jones looks primed for a more involved contribution with the first team.

In the case of Naby Keita, he is a similar player to Wijnaldum – albeit with more attacking impetus –  but his poor fitness record since arriving Liverpool counts against him.

If the Guinean international can remain fit and Liverpool successfully lure Alcantara to Anfield, the sale of Gini Wijnaldum could yet work out in their favor.

Ume Elvis

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Ardent football fan and one of the best footie writers you'll find anywhere on the net.


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