Lorenzo Pellegrini: Liverpool transfer target in profile
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Gini Wijnaldum has explained that Paris Saint-Germain’s future plans enticed him to snub Barcelona after running down his Liverpool contract.
The midfielder will officially end his six-year stay with the Reds when his deal expires at the end of the month.
Wijnaldum has chosen to join PSG following lengthy talks with both Mauricio Pochettino’s side and Barcelona.
It was thought last month that a move to the latter was almost complete. Wijnaldum had turned down the offer of a new contract at Liverpool and was able to talk to foreign clubs from January.
But the Dutchman made a late U-turn and opted to join PSG, where he claims the ‘project’ persuaded him to sign.
“It was a difficult choice. We negotiated with Barcelona for four weeks, but we did not reach an agreement,” Wijnaldum said while on international duty with the Netherlands at Euro 2020.
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“PSG were just quicker and their project spoke to me more. To be honest, I thought I was joining Barcelona because at the beginning they were the only interested club.
“PSG and Barcelona are both truly great clubs, and both are clubs where I would have liked to play. I wanted to make my decision before the start of the Euros and in the end I chose PSG.”
Wijnaldum’s departure leaves a large hole in Liverpool’s midfield options.
The 30-year-old played in each of their 38 Premier League matches with a devastating injury crisis affecting Jurgen Klopp’s defensive and midfield options.
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed large parts of the season and Jordan Henderson’s campaign ended prematurely in February due to a groin injury.
The latter is in a race to be fully fit for England’s opening Euro 2020 match against Croatia on Sunday.
Klopp is now planning a big summer revamp at Anfield ahead of an improved top-flight title bid next season.
The Reds offered a disappointing defence of their 2019-20 title.
Defender Ibrahima Konate has already been added in a £36million deal from RB Leipzig.
Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma is reportedly a target to improve Klopp’s midfield options.
The German coach wants his squad sorted ahead of their return to pre-season in July.
“I don’t know [about transfers] in this moment, to be honest. We have to make decisions in and out on all these kinds of things. It’s normal in the summer,” he said.
“There’s a moment in the pre-season when I hope we have the team we will go through the season [with].
“In that moment, we will work on being a really uncomfortable opponent. That’s the most important thing.
“We might not be the best team in the world at the start of the season, but we want to be again the team who nobody wants to play against because we are that good.
“And I think that’s possible.”
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