Liverpool man agreed summer exit before deal collapse

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Georginio Wijnaldum appears to be a man in demand.

The Liverpool midfielder played in all bar one of the club’s Premier League games last season as they won the title at a canter.

That form led to links away from the club in the summer transfer window and he was touted as a possible signing for Barcelona after their appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager.

Koeman, of course, has worked with Wijnaldum at international level with the Netherlands and it appeared that he was set to bring his countryman to Camp Nou.

However, a deal did not end up materialising and he has remained in the Premier League, where he remains a key member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

This season already, he has made 13 appearances in all competitions; he has played in all eight Premier League games thus far, with seven starts and one substitute appearance.

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He has also made two starts in the Champions League.

However, it has now emerged just how close he came to leaving the club in the summer.

Sport Witness carries a report from Mundo Deportivo claiming that Wijnaldum had agreed to move to Barcelona in the previous transfer window but that the deal was held up because the club wanted to sign a striker before they acquired a midfielder.

They did not end up doing so, however, and the deal collapsed, leaving Wijnaldum on Merseyside.

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Barca are still said to be keen on signing the former Newcastle United star, whose contract expires next summer, but they are not the only club in the race.

Italian side Inter Milan are also said to have made their interest known.

Barcelona would have been forced to pay around €30m (£26.8m) but he could now be available on a free next summer, though any deal would be dependant on Koeman still being in charge, which is by no means a guarantee.

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

While Liverpool may have missed out on a significant windfall, they have kept a genuinely excellent midfield player as they look to retain the Premier League title.

Now, he may still leave, but they have also bought themselves some valuable time to convince Wijnaldum to stay at the club.

The Dutchman is approaching a crossroads in his career as this could well be his last chance to earn a big move to an elite European club.

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But, on the other hand, he is already a regular starter for, you guessed it, an elite European club.

A move may not be what he needs, and Liverpool have the time they require to potentially convince him of that.

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