Barcelona have ‘hit the panic button’ as they desperately seek to finalise a deal for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, amid strong rival interest from Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.
The 30-year-old has seemed destined to join La Blaugrana for several months, but a late – and incredibly lucrative – bid from Les Parisiens has left the Catalan side on the brink of missing out on their long-term target.
But Marca reports that Barça are not prepared to give up on their pursuit of Wijnaldum, and are even considering upping their offer to persuade him to put pen to paper. However, they are hoping the Dutchman will choose to ignore the substantially more attractive offer in France and stick to his original decision of joining the Liga giants.
Barça have been chasing the Dutchman for around 12 months in total, and were he to arrive he’d be their third free signing of the summer – following Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia in heading to Camp Nou.
It has been expected for the majority of the season that Wijnaldum would be leaving Liverpool at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, having failed to come to an agreement over a new contract. His deal expires on 1 July, meaning he can negotiate with other clubs ahead of the upcoming season.
It was assumed he would sign for Barça despite rumoured interest from Bayern, and Wijnaldum’s representatives had been in Barcelona’s offices for two days – finalising the details on his contract with the club.
Barça’s relative financial difficulties mean that it’s unlikely they will be able to match Les Parisiens’ bulging salary, but they are hoping his connection with coach and fellow countryman Ronald Koeman, as well as the allure of playing at Camp Nou, will be enough to secure their man.
Renegotiating is an option for Barça, should Wijnaldum need further convincing that the Catalan giants is the right fit for him, but it’s hoped he can be talked around with the need for further financial incentives.
The imminent arrival of national compatriot Memphis Depay could also be a deciding factor, as could the expected confirmation of Lionel Messi extending his stay in Catalonia.