Georginio Wijnaldum had four-club transfer dilemma after leaving Liverpool
Georginio Wijnaldum had a four-club transfer dilemma after leaving Liverpool.
The Dutchman rejected a new deal at Anfield, instead leaving the club for free in June following five years of service.
Despite Jurgen Klopp 's best attempts to keep the 30-year-old, the ex-Newcastle midfielder - who has admitted he initially wanted to stay - warmed to the prospect of a new challenge and penned a contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
But the French behemoths were not the only club that Wijnaldum sat down to have discussions with, with Barcelona and Ronald Koeman notably in for his signature until the 11th hour.
There were two more clubs who had spoken to the 81-capped Netherlands international, who he revealed in an interview with L'Equipe , via Get French Football News.
There were discussions with Bayern Munich," he stated. "But they started further back.
"I also spoke with Inter Milan, who made a very good impression on me, the sort that as a player you want to have."
So why did he choose to link up with Maurcio Pochettino at PSG - well before Lionel Messi 's arrival?
"Because of the project that was set out, and because I was told that I’d be a part of it," Wijnaldum explained. "The management did everything to convince me.
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"PSG went through the negotiations very quickly, and before we did so I spoke with Mauricio Pochettino and Leonardo. They assured me that they wanted to build one of the best teams in Europe."
The Reds' old No.5 also affirmed he initially planned to remain on Merseyside but things soon changed early in 2021.
"A few months ago, I wanted to stay at Liverpool, but without going into the details, I didn’t get the feeling they wanted to keep me. In these cases, you have to move forward. Barcelona came up.
"I was really happy because, since I was a kid, like with the majority of Dutch players, it’s been the club of my dreams, even if I have to admit that my idol was Zinedine Zidane, a Real Madrid player," he admitted.
"I was keen on the idea of signing for Barcelona. But the negotiations lasted a while and eventually PSG came forward. Unlike 6 years ago [while he was still at PSV Eindhoven], the club showed their desire to have me. It was time for me to see something else."
Pochettino had been after the former PSV star back in 2016 when Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League but he chose to head to the north west instead of Tottenham Hotspur.
Wijnaldum lifted the lid on what he spoke to then Spurs manager about ahead of a potential switch.
"He didn’t say, 'listen, this is how we’re going to play', because I already knew how he works," he started by saying. "Even if there’s always adjustments to make depending on your squad.
"Back in 2016, he set out how he manages, the style of play he likes, and so on. Because of that, this summer’s conversation was actually quite short.
"He asked me whether I was open to what Paris were offering, and spoke to me about the project and what they wanted to do.
"I was transparent, I told them I’d been speaking to Barcelona but that an agreement hadn’t been reached," the playmaker additionally revealed. "If I had signed something, I wouldn’t have gone back on it, but here that wasn’t the case."