Liverpool will likely have to match Barcelona’s offer for Georginio Wijnaldum if they are to have any chance of keeping the Dutch midfielder this summer after details of the Catalans’ bumper contract offer to the player emerged.
Wijnaldum has been a vital cog in the transformation of Liverpool into serial trophy winners over the past five years. His tireless displays in the engine room have helped lay the foundations for others in the team to shine. However, with his contract nearing expiry, his stint at Anfield appears to be coming to an end.
The 30-year-old has long been rumoured to be a free agent target for Spanish giants Barcelona.
The Catalan club are deep in debt, making Wijnaldum an ideal capture through the lack of a transfer fee involved.
An overwhelming amount of evidence has pointed towards his departure. As such, the player himself recently opened up on the speculation.
However, money talks and, given his age, this is likely to be the last big payday of the Dutchman’s career. Indeed, the midfielder remains on the terms he initially agreed upon arriving at Anfield from Newcastle back in July 2016. Since then, a number of big signings have seen their salaries soar way beyond Wijnaldum, leaving him trailing behind.
Wijnaldum knows he can’t compete with the Mo Salahs and Virgil van Dijks of this world. That said, he is thought to be seeking some form of pay increase that reflects his status at Liverpool.
But the problem for the Reds has always been the presence of Barcelona. Now, according to Mundo Deportivo, Barca have laid out their terms to Wijnaldum over a summer move.
As per the Spanish source, Barca have offered Wijnaldum a deal worth €24m over three years. That breaks down to the equivalent of £130,000 a week.
That is some distance more than the reported £90,000 a week offer Liverpool are said to have tabled for him. Indeed, it now seems the deposed Premier League champions must match that offer if they’re to have any chance of keeping him.
Wijnaldum settled at Liverpool
Wijnaldum though insists the ball is in the court of the champions, although he revealed it would break his heart to leave Anfield.
Asked how hard it would be to leave, he said: “Really difficult because if that happens you will leave a team who you really love, a team who you shared a lot of years together, and where you feel really comfortable.
“That would be difficult… it always depends on the situation but that I would be devastated that I don’t play with this team anymore, that would be for sure.
“At the moment, there is no news as it is right now. I would lie if I come with news. The only thing that I can say is that I’m really happy at the club – I’m really happy with the team, the staff, and really happy with the fans for who I play.”
Wijnaldum insists he is loving his football at the club and his family are settled.
“That’s the only thing that I can say. It’s not that I am not happy and that I have to leave or something like that, but it’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is to make some decisions for your future,” said Wijnaldum.
“First you have to negotiate with the club and those kind of things and it’s so difficult to deal with. I think also [that with] the situation we are in right now, it’s not the most important thing right now.
“I think the most important thing is to get back on track, to start winning games again, and then we will see. But until now, the only thing what I can say is that I am really happy here; happy with the fans, happy with my team, happy with the staff, with who I work with.
“My family is happy here. But beside that, there is no news.”