While he has tended to take on a less glamorous midfield support role for Liverpool, Gini Wijnaldum has spent the past few seasons as an attacking midfielder for the Netherlands, scoring goals and creating chances for his national team.
He’s done so under the management of Ronald Koeman, who as of this week is the new manager at Barcelona. The only question, then, was how long it would take for there to be a transfer rumour about Wijnaldum joining Koeman at Barca.
The answer was, unsurprisingly, not long.
And so, as of today, Dutch outlet Algemeen Dagblad claim that Koeman has Wijnaldum as a top priority—and more than that, when it became clear he would take the Barcelona job he reached out to Wijnaldum to urge him not to sign a new Liverpool deal.
AD further claim Wijnaldum is a player who is highly rated by the Barcelona board separate from Koeman, with the club appreciating his play with Frenkie de Jong at the international level and seeing new signing Miralem Pjanic as a more defensive option.
All of this, it has to be said, appears to be highly speculative. Yet it’s speculation based on the true and unavoidable fact that is Wijnaldum’s contract situation—there’s just one year left on it while talks have been halted and are not expected to resume.
That means that either Liverpool and Wijnaldum part ways this summer, or the player moves on next year on a free. In such a situation, transfer rumours are inevitable. Particularly when the player’s national team coach has just joined Barcelona.