‘I had a really good conversation with Pochettino’ - Wijnaldum reveals Spurs negotiations

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The Dutchman, now a fan favourite at Anfield, has explained how close he came to a move to North London in 2016

Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum has shed light on a conversation he held with Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino before he signed for Liverpool two years ago.

The Netherlands star, who was recently appointed fourth choice captain at Anfield after a player vote, has admitted that he came close to a move to Spurs and spoke to Pochettino at length before the Reds came calling in July 2016.

Wijnaldum, 27, has established himself as one of Jurgen Klopp’s most reliable performers since his arrival on Merseyside and claims that, despite talks, former club Newcastle could not come to a suitable agreement with Spurs for his transfer.

“I had a really good conversation with Pochettino. But we didn’t come to an agreement. Not just me – Newcastle also didn't come to an agreement with Tottenham,” Wijnaldum said in an interview with the PFA.

“When I spoke with Jurgen he made me feel really good. He gave me a lot of confidence because he said he liked my way of playing football.

“Three days after our meeting they had reached a deal and I didn’t think twice.

“This is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I wanted to make the transfer and I’m happy that I did.”

After starting his career in his homeland with both Feyenoord and PSV, the midfielder made a name for himself in England after an impressive spell with Newcastle.

He spent just one year on Tyneside but managed 11 goals, performing in a variety of attacking midfield positions under the management of both Steve McClaren and current Toon boss Rafa Benitez.

Since making the move to Anfield, Klopp has adapted Wijnaldum’s game by using him in a more reserved midfield role. He has been deployed as Liverpool’s deepest-lying midfielder on a number of occasions and the Dutchman is grateful to the Liverpool boss for further developing his game in recent years.

“Before I signed for Liverpool I was playing for Newcastle as a No.10 – basically, I was always attacking, I didn’t have to do much defensive work, I didn’t play as the No.6 or the No.8,” Wijnaldum continued.

“Learning to play different roles has made me a more all-round midfielder.

“It makes it easier for you to play more often and it makes it easier for the manager if he has players who can be used in different positions.

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“I think I’ve shown I have the defensive discipline to play deep as the No.6 and start the build ups with my passing.

“I can also play higher up the pitch and make a difference in the opposition area. Being able to do both has helped me to play so many games.”

Wijnaldum has made 13 appearances in all competitions for the Reds so far this season, with his side accumulating an impressive 26 points from their first 10 matches in the Premier League.

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