Liverpool midfield maestro closing in on a move to FC Barcelona
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has agreed terms with FC Barcelona over a switch from Liverpool, according to reports in Spain.
The Dutchman has been at the centre of speculations over a possible move to the Nou Camp after the midfielder entered the final year of his Reds deal. New Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is believed to be a fan of the 29-year-old, having worked with him during his time as the Dutch national boss.
Talks between Wijnaldum and Liverpool over a contract extension appear to have hit a dead end, although Reds manager Jurgen Klopp insisted last week he was relaxed about the situation. But Wijnaldum has now agreed terms with Barcelona over a move that will leave Liverpool craving for reinforcements, according to Diario Sport in Spain.
The Spanish publication claims Wijnaldum has agreed a three-year deal, with the Catalan club now negotiating a transfer fee with the Premier League champions expected to be in the region of £13 million to £18 million.
FC Barcelona have already signed Miralem Pjanic, but Koeman is believed to be looking for more additions, with Arthur and Ivan Rakitić having departed for Juventus and Sevilla respectively, while Arturo Vidal also looks set to leave.
Wijnaldum has been a key player for Liverpool since joining from Newcastle for £24 million in 2016, having helped the Reds to last year's Champions League success, the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup and of course this year's stunning Premier League title success.
But with no progress over a new contract for the Netherlands international, it might make sense for the Reds to cash in rather than lose him for nothing when his contract expires in a year's time.
If Wijnaldum is to leave Liverpool, it will no doubt accelerate the Reds' efforts to sign their primary target Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich. Thiago has made it clear he wishes to leave the European champions for a new challenge, and Liverpool have been touted as the favorite to land him.
They are yet to strike a deal with Bayern Munich, who are holding out for a £27 million fee for the 29-year-old, with Manchester United having also reportedly entered the race.
Liverpool boss Klopp appeared unperturbed about Wijaldum's contract situation when quizzed about it last week.
“That’s an open contract situation, obviously, otherwise we would know,” Klopp said.
“That means we don’t talk about it, that’s all. I never did, so why should I change it now? That’s all between us and the player, and all these kinds of things.
“It’s all good in the moment, it’s all fine. Gini looked very good in the pre-season, played obviously a couple of good seasons for us, so that's all I can say about that.”
Featured image credits - Sky Sports