Georginio Wijnaldum has discussed why he was persuaded to sign for Liverpool after revealing he rejected advances from two of the club’s Premier League rivals to join the Reds in a £25million deal.
The Holland midfielder was a man in demand this summer following Newcastle’s relegation from the Championship and admits it was the decision to work with Jurgen Klopp that lured him to Anfield after he rejected the advances of both Everton and Tottenham.
The former PSV star, who also had the opportunity to stay at St James’ Park, has signed a five-year deal at Anfield, and speaking about his move, he told the Liverpool Echo he that he knew as soon as he met Klopp that he wanted to play under the German.
“In that conversation he made me feel really good,” Wijnaldum said.
“He gave me a lot of confidence because he said he liked my way of playing football. He said I was a person he really wanted to have in his squad.
“Something like that is always good to hear. It made me happy, especially as it came from such a great trainer like Jurgen Klopp.
“He showed how good he is at Dortmund with all the success he had. It’s always great when a trainer of that kind of ability says he needs you in his team.
“There was interest from Everton but Liverpool had more interest. Jurgen gave me a good feeling in that conversation. Straight after that I had the feeling that I wanted to come to Liverpool.
“Of course Liverpool is a big club with a good history. Everyone knows that. But there had to be a match.
“He’s in charge and if a great trainer like him wants you then it gives you more confidence to come to a club like this.”
Wijnaldum linked up with the squad in California on Saturday and took part in his first training session just hours later.
Rafa Benitez had been desperate to keep him at Newcastle to help fuel their promotion push back to the Premier League.
But the 25-year-old told the former Reds boss he just couldn’t turn down the chance to work with Klopp.
“Rafa just said that Liverpool is a big club,” Wijnaldum said.
“The biggest thing he said was that he wanted to keep me for Newcastle.
“He didn’t want to sell me but he said that if a great offer came in they would think about it. He wanted to keep me there.
“He didn’t say: ‘You need to go to Liverpool’ because he wanted me to stay at Newcastle.”