Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman is “confident” the club can land Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum on a free transfer this summer.
Wijnaldum, now 30, is on breach of contract at the end of the 2020/21 season, while his renewal negotiations have caused much concern among Liverpool fans.
Since January 1, Wijnaldum has been free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club before a summer move. however, 90 mins understands that his preference is to stay at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp has also previously said that he would be happy for Wijnaldum to stay, having made the versatile midfielder one of his main leaders in the dressing room.
That said, Liverpool’s hierarchy have so far been unwilling to strike a new deal favorable to the Dutch midfielder.
Since Koeman’s arrival at Barcelona last year, the Catalan club have become the next most likely destination for Wijnaldum if he does not receive the offer he expected from Anfield.
Mundo Deportivo reports that Koeman is “confident” of a summer deal for his compatriot, with whom he worked during his tenure as coach of the Netherlands national team.
Mephis Depay (Lyon) and Eric Garcia (Manchester City) are also said to be on Koeman’s hit list as well.
However, the exact people Barcelona choose to target can boil down to the club’s presidential election results in less than two weeks.
Nine candidates have now been reduced to four, while the remaining candidates (including former president Joan Laporta) have expressed different visions of Barca’s economic and recruiting strategy,
Meanwhile, reports of a growing € 1bn debt could hamper Barcelona when it comes to offering a lot of cash, even to signings that don’t require a transfer fee.
Wijanldum, who made 47 appearances for Liverpool in 2019/20, including 37 of 38 in the club’s Premier League campaign, has remained a key figure for the Reds this season.
Only Andy Robertson and Roberto Firmino have played more Premier League minutes than Wijnaldum for Liverpool so far in 2020/21.