Georginio Wijnaldum has signed a pre-contract with Barcelona and will join ex-Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman’s team in the summer. Wijnaldum’s departure has been a poorly kept secret as it was always feared and expected that the midfielder and club would not come to an agreement over a new contract.
Wijnaldum joined Liverpool from Newcastle United in July 2016 for £24.8 million. He has been a constant in Jurgen Klopp’s team since arriving at the club. The Dutchman will be a part of Barcelona’s overhaul in the summer and attempts to go back to the days of Johan Cruyff and Ajax influence. The Blaugrana are expected to add Memphis Depay amongst other players — also on a free transfer — in the offseason.
While it was hoped Wijnaldum would stay at Anfield, it was expected he would leave. Liverpool have shown in recent seasons that letting veteran players leave on free transfers is nothing to worry about. Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno, and Adam Lallana were let go in the seasons proceeding the current campaign. None of those three players had the impact upon their exits as Wijnaldum has had.
The 30-year-old Dutchman has appeared in 29 matches in the league, scoring two goals this season. Wijnaldum came through the ranks at Eredivisie club Feyenoord before moving to PSV Eindhoven in 2011 for a transfer fee of £4.5m. Newcastle United signed Wijnaldum from PSV Eindhoven in 2015 for £18m.
Wijnaldum joins the ranks of Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho as Liverpool players to join Barcelona in recent seasons.