The agent of Georginio Wijnaldum has confirmed that Liverpool tried to keep the midfielder, who also had an offer from Inter Milan that could have been a “serious option” before he joined Paris Saint-Germain.
The curtains recently closed on a five-year spell at Anfield for Wijnaldum. The Dutchman was a successful signing from Newcastle in 2016 and went on to become one of the captains of the Liverpool group. However, when his contract expired at the end of the season, the Reds were unable to keep hold of him.
Jurgen Klopp has thus been deprived of one of his most trusted players. Indeed, the manager has issued several glowing tributes to his now former player.
Wijnaldum will be playing for PSG next season, where he has signed a three-year contract. The French giants beat competition from the likes of Barcelona and Inter for his signature.
But before then, Liverpool made an attempt to offer him a contract extension – as confirmed by his agent Humphry Nijman.
“He had a fantastic time at Liverpool,” Nijman told the Here We Go podcast. “It started when we visited the house of Mr Klopp and a plan was made that they wanted to win the championship and the Champions League, and that was achieved.
“That was fantastic for the fans in Liverpool, fantastic for the manager and fantastic for the player. The player was really happy they achieved their goals.
“His contract was expiring so he was a free agent after this season.
“Of course, an attempt was made (to keep him at Liverpool) but he made another choice.”
Wijnaldum has vowed to shed more light on why he left Liverpool when the time comes to speak more about it. In the meantime, though, his agent is doing the talking.
Nijman also addressed how quickly other clubs began their attempts to sign him when Wijnaldum became free to speak to other clubs from January.
Consequently, Inter seemed to have overtaken Barcelona in the race to sign the 30-year-old. But despite being a “serious option”, Nijman explained why Inter missed out.
“It started quite early, in January Inter Milan showed interest,” he said. “They made an offer for Gini but there were problems with the owners getting the money out of China so Inter wasn’t able to fulfil their initial obligations.
“They had made him a very, very good offer. If the financial problems were not there, it could have been a serious option.”
Pochettino talks helped convince Wijnaldum
Once Inter had been ruled out, there was a four-way battle for Wijnaldum’s services post-Liverpool. Ultimately, it was PSG who were successful, beating off Barcelona’s attempts.
“After that the director of Juventus phoned me and showed interest,” Nijman continued. “Also in the same period, (sporting director) Leonardo from PSG approached me.
“We knew Mr (Ronald) Koeman at Barcelona would like to bring Georginio to Barcelona. At a later stage Bayern Munich showed an interest.
“(PSG coach Mauricio) Pochettino had talks with Gini and how he saw his role and what he expected from him.
“Barcelona we had some talks and initially it looked all really good and we were along the way (to an agreement) but Paris were telling us their interest was quite serious. When both offers came on the table, he had to make a choice.”
That choice was ultimately the French option, with Wijnaldum now set for his first taste of Ligue 1 football. He will be hoping his experience can help them regain the title after losing out to Lille last season.