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Barcelona Manager Koeman Admits Gini Wijnaldum “Was on My List”

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Ronald Koeman says he wanted to sign Liverpool’s Gini Wijnaldum before the transfer window closed.

Training & Press conference Holland in Estonia Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Liverpool fans spent much of the summer trying to decipher twined transfer stories, one that had Thiago Alcantara joining the Reds from Bayern Munich and the other than had Gini Wijnaldum linking up with his former national team manager at Barcelona.

In the end, the former took place. Despite early skepticism due to the player’s age, Liverpool’s depth at the position, and that it would seemingly mark a departure from the club’s typical recruitment strategy, 29-year-old Thiago arrived at Anfield in a £20M deal.

And in the end, the latter didn’t. Despite Liverpool’s even greater depth in midfield after Thiago’s arrival, and despite that he’s into the final year of his contract, 29-year-old Wijnaldum ended the window still with the Reds and saying he was never much interested in leaving.

However, it appears that Barcelona—and new manager Ronald Koeman in particular—were interested in signing Wijnaldum, with the Barca boss telling Dutch outlet NOS that the Liverpool man “was on my list” along with Lyon attacker Memphis Depay.

“I don’t think it was that serious,” Wijnaldum had previously said of Barcelona’s rumoured summer interest in signing him. “Otherwise you would have read a bit more, or more would have happened. There was nothing concrete. I didn’t have to think about it.”

Koeman, it seems, would disagree. Not that it much matters with the window now closed. Though it will be interesting now to see if Wijnaldum signs a pre-contract agreement with Barcelona in January—assuming, at least, Koeman’s job is still secure by then.