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Barcelona lure "too much" as Gini Wijnaldum turns down renewed Reds deal

LFC Globe
16th January 2021
Gini Wijnaldum
Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool midfielder will depart Anfield to join on a free transfer as his deal comes to an end this summer.

The Dutchman's future has been at the centre of speculation over the last year, with talks over a contract extension largely at a stall for most of 2020.

Reports claimed Wijnaldum, who signed a five-year deal upon arriving at the club in 2016, was looking to link up with former Dutch manager Ronald Koeman at the Camp Nou once his deal comes to an end in July.

Meanwhile, some reports also stated the 30-year-old was seeking for a more lucrative deal from Liverpool, with the addition of an extra year to what the Reds were willing to offer.

Liverpool were said to have made a fresh attempt to retain him by offering him a new deal at the start of December, with Wijnaldum reportedly still weighing up his options late last month.

However, it now appears his decision has been made, with the Reds midfielder reported by the Mirror to have decided his future lies away from Merseyside.

According to journalist Neil Moxley, Wijnaldum "will leave Liverpool and join " with "the Nou Camp lure too much to turn down."

Per Moxley, his "boyhood dream" is to play for and "follow in the footsteps" of Dutch legends Johan Cruyff, Frank Rijkaard and current Barca boss Koeman.

Koeman's presence has only "stiffened" his desire to play for the La Liga side, the report states, which also goes on to cite "Dutch sources" in confirming Wijnaldum's position.

Gini Wijnaldum, Ronald Koeman

Image: Getty Images

has always been a big draw for him. It's a similar situation to when Gareth Bale left for in that it is his ultimate destination,” the source reportedly said.

Wijnaldum previously said back in December: "I already said it in my previous interviews. I don't speak about my contract situation.

"I speak about games and performances. It's not for me to speak about my contract.

"The club should speak about my contract. Of course, there is a connection [with the supporters and club]. From the first moment I came, there was a connection.

"The supporters support me a lot. But like I said, it's not for me to speak about my contract right now, it's up to the club."

Klopp has been unequivocal in his wish to keep Wijnaldum whenever quizzed on his future, pointing to "a very good relationship" with the midfielder.

Gini Wijnaldum

Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

However, it appears the pull of - led by his countryman - is too strong for Wijnaldum, who now looks certain to depart this summer, particularly considering the unambiguous nature of the latest reports.

It remains to be seen whether Liverpool replace him in the summer transfer window, with the likes of , and all capable of playing a greater role to varying degrees.

The addition of last summer is, as Klopp says, like a new signing given the interrupted start to his Liverpool career so far so the Reds should be well-stocked in the middle of the park.

But with a possible double departure for as well as Wijnaldum at the end of this season, the Reds may well dip into the transfer market in search for a replacement.

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