Liverpool braced for Barcelona bid for midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum

Ronald Koeman wants to capitalise on the contract impasse between Georginio Wijnaldum and Liverpool by signing the midfielder for Barcelona.

Wijnaldum has entered the final year of his deal with the Premier League champions and is yet to agree an extension despite several months of negotiations. Liverpool are reluctant to sell the 29-year-old, who made more Premier League appearances for Jürgen Klopp’s team last season than any other midfielder, but their position could change should a sizeable offer arrive for a player who will be out of contract next summer.

No bid has been received from Barcelona but the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, which has close links with Koeman, claims the former Netherlands manager wants to pair Wijnaldum with his international teammate Frenkie de Jong in midfield.

Barcelona’s interest in Wijnaldum could have implications for Klopp’s attempts to sign Thiago Alcântara from Bayern Munich. Liverpool have a longstanding interest in Thiago, who is expected to leave the European champions, but are likely to have to sell a midfielder before finalising a deal for the 29-year-old. A Wijnaldum exit would clear the way for Thiago’s arrival.

Liverpool’s sporting director, Michael Edwards, struck an innovative deal with Barcelona when selling Philippe Coutinho in 2018. Under the terms of the £142m transfer, Barcelona had to pay a premium of £100m on any player they signed from Liverpool – having raided the club for Javier Mascherano, Luis Suárez then Coutinho – but that clause expired this summer.