Liverpool will not allow Georginio Wijnaldum to join Barcelona for a cut-price fee this summer, amid claims the Reds had given up on trying to keep him.
Wijnaldum has refused to extend his deal at Anfield leading to speculation over the 29-year-old’s future.
The midfielder has been strongly mentioned as a target for Barca ever since Ronald Koeman took charge. Mundo Deportivo claimed Koeman had given the green light for the deal and actually ‘endorses’ the transfer.
Sport further backed up those claims. They say the possibility of Wijnaldum arriving at Camp Nou is ‘beginning to take shape’ after Koeman made the signing a ‘priority’.
In fact Koeman’s fellow Dutchman has become a ‘non-negotiable goal’ for the former Everton boss.
And now that deal appears even closer following a big claim made by Algemeen Dagblad.
As per the Rotterdam-based paper, Wijnaldum’s agent is ‘close to an agreement with Barcelona on a deal’.
Furthermore, reports in Sunday’s Mirror claimed Liverpool had resigned themselves to Wijnaldum’s exit. The paper stated they would now ask for a cut-price £15m were they to sign the midfielder this summer.
However, respected journalist James Pearce has dismissed the notion that his sale would go through for so little.
While a departure may well be on the cards, The Athletic’s Pearce insists there is “no chance Liverpool would accept that”.
While Pearce did not elaborate further, it seems to suggest that Liverpool would command a fee more in line with his market valuation.
Liverpool are reported to be closing in on Thiago Alcantara as Wijnaldum’s replacement. The Bayern star also has a year left on his deal and a fee of €30m (£27m) has been floated. On Monday it was reported those talks were advancing.
While not having quite the reputation Thiago has in the game, Liverpool are far likely to seek a fee of around £20m – £25m for Wijnaldum.
Even with a year left on his deal, the Reds would believe this is a fair reflection of his price.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Holland’s match against Poland, Wijnaldum was asked about the Barca rumours.
The 29-year-old though refused to give anything away.
“That’s a rumour, I can’t say more about it,” he said.
He added of Koeman after he left his Holland post: “Of course it is a shame that he left. But we are also very happy for him. It can be compared to when you are in such a situation as a player. But we have to move on now.”
Messi gives Barcelona transfer nudge
One man who would reportedly welcome the deal is Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Fresh from confirming his plans to stay at the Nou Camp, Messi has admitted his frustration at how the club is being run.
It’s reported Messi wants to see Barcelona spend their money more wisely. Furthermore, the Argentine seemingly wants to have more say on their transfer targets.
With Wijnaldum set to cost around €25m, that is seemingly one deal Messi would welcome.
Although not commenting on the Liverpool man directly, Messi is clear which direction he wants the club to move to.
Messi told Goal: “I said it at the time that we were not given the support to win the Champions League.
“Actually, now I don’t know what will happen. There is a new coach and new ideas.
“That’s good, but then we have to see how the team responds. Can we compete at the top level?
“What I can say is that I’m staying and I’m going to give my best for Barcelona.”
Further putting the underfire Bartomeu under the microscope while discussing his own future, Messi continued: “I told the club, including the president, that I wanted to go. I’ve been telling him that all year. I believed it was time to step aside.
“I believed the club needed more young players, new players and I thought my time in Barcelona was over. I’d felt very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.”