Ronald Koeman claims Barcelona disregarded Liverpool midfielder because of personal vendetta
As spoken to Dutch outlet AD (h/t Liverpool Echo), Ronald Koeman has claimed that Georginio Wijnaldum would have been an FC Barcelona player today if the board and the President at the Catalan club did not have a personal grudge against him.
Wijnaldum, a permanent fixture in the Reds’ starting XI at that point in time, went out of contract in 2021. Without a contract extension, he was all set to join FC Barcelona back then. The Dutchman finally joined Paris Saint-Germain in France, stating that the Catalan giants “took too long in negotiations” and the French club were “much clearer”.
In his five-year spell with the Reds, Gini played 237 times, scoring on 22 occasions and getting 16 assists across all competitions. He won multiple accolades with Liverpool, including the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
Koeman stated the same in his interview and sounded rather critical of Barca’s president Joan Laporta and his modus operandi with Koeman during his final days as the manager at the Catalan club prior to his sacking in October last year.
“But I failed because the President (Joan Laporta) wanted to annoy me more than bringing in a player. That delayed the operation and, for that reason, he opted for PSG. Otherwise, he would have played for Barcelona.”
Wijnaldum after Liverpool
Gini has not had the best of times after moving on from Liverpool. After moving to Paris, he slowly fell out of favour with manager Mauricio Pochettino. Eventually, he saw himself out of the starting XI more often than not. In his first season in France, he played 31 league fixtures, scoring only once. Currently, on loan at AS Roma in Italy, he is nursing a tibia fracture which has kept him out of action since August 22.
In hindsight, Liverpool’s decision to not extend Gini’s contract now seems like a good move. The Dutchman has not been the shadow of the player since he left the club and is also facing injury issues.
His departure from the Reds was rather bittersweet. In an interview with The Times [subscription required], Gini stated that he was “not loved by the fans” after losses and that made him feel insecure about his position at Liverpool. His comments did not go down well with the fans who were left conflicted with their opinions on the Dutchman.
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Liverpool on the other hand, are yet to sign a like-to-like replacement for Wijnaldum. Almost never injured, and consistent 8/10 performances when on song, it is obviously hard for Liverpool to find alternatives in an inflated market given their spending behaviour.