Liverpool could be set for a huge statement of their progress if Gini Wijnaldum agrees a new contract. Reports suggest the Dutchman could reject Barcelona.
Sky Sports claim that Wijnaldum could turn Barcelona down this summer. Now, we always thought that might be the case. He’s out of contract in a year, after all, so why not wait and move for free in 2021?
He’d almost certainly get more money, seeing as the Catalonians wouldn’t need to pay a fee. In all, it just makes a lot of sense for him.
So it’s surprising to see that not only do Sky claim Wijnaldum wants to turn them down but that he wants a new contract at Liverpool. We didn’t see that one coming.
The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle recently said he’d be ‘pleasantly surprised’ if Wijnaldum agreed a new contract. And we would be, too – Barcelona are very tempting.
They’re undergoing a rebuild, for one, and Wijnaldum could command a serious role in that. Not only that, but Ronald Koeman is the new boss there.
Wijnaldum played brilliantly for the Netherlands under Koeman and you could see him wanting to continue that at club level. And not just any club but Barcelona.
They’re one of the biggest around and at 29, this is the last time Wijnaldum could command a serious wage at a club like that. If he wants something new, this is his final chance to get it somewhere good.
So keep all of that in mind should the Dutchman sign a new contract. It would represent a major statement of progress at Liverpool.
We’re used to players having this choice. We’ve seen it three times in the last decade, after all.
There was 2010, when Javier Mascherano decided he wanted to play for Barcelona so badly that he skipped a Premier League match. Or 2014, when Luis Suarez openly going to Barcelona that no one was surprised that Liverpool sold their star player to them.
Then we can fast-forward to 2018 when Philippe Coutinho was so desperate to move there that his back seemed to suffer mysterious injuries that only fixed themselves in Catalonia.
So, really, we’re used to this choice only going one way, too.
And yet Wijnaldum, reportedly, chooses Liverpool. That’s remarkable, all things considered, for not only would it be a great move for him, as discussed, but it’s also an easy one. He wouldn’t need to put up a fight like the others did. He wouldn’t need to break a contract to make it happen. His is up in a year – he can just go there.
But Liverpool is the place to be. Yes, Barcelona have fallen in recent years but they’ve still won two La Liga title in three years. They still have Lionel Messi (just about).
Wijnaldum is no Suarez, of course, but choosing Liverpool would represent a huge success for the club. It’s a show of stature, that the Reds are undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in the world once again – a far cry from letting stars go because Barcelona are calling.
Where even a simple, undoubtedly positive move to Barcelona doesn’t quite hold the same shine anymore. A new contract with Liverpool is the better choice these days.