Gini Wijnaldum admits he will be “devastated” to leave Liverpool, as he approaches the end of his five-year stay on Merseyside.
Wijnaldum’s Reds contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and at this point there is no sign of an extension being agreed.
The Dutchman remains an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s team – no player has made more appearances in this campaign – but it appears increasingly likely that the 30-year-old will be allowed to leave on a free transfer in the summer.
What’s been said?
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 clash with RB Leipzig, Wijnaldum was asked directly about his future, specifically whether he was resigned to leaving, whether there was any chance of him signing a new contract and how he would feel about moving on.
Smiling, he replied: “Wow, that’s a lot of questions at one time! I want to answer them all for you, but at the moment there is no news. I would like to come with news, but the only thing I can say is that I’m really happy with the club, really happy with the team, the staff, and really happy with the fans I play for.
“That’s the only thing I can say; it’s not that I’m not happy and I have to leave or anything like that. But it’s not as easy as everyone thinks it is to make decisions for your future. You have to think about everything, first you have to negotiate with the club and those kind of things. It’s so difficult to deal with it all. That’s why it takes so long.
“But we know with the situation we are in right now, it is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to get back on track, start winning games again and then we will see. I am really happy here, my family is happy, but besides that there is no news.”
Later in the press conference, he was asked how hard it would be to leave Liverpool, if and when the time comes.
He said: “Really difficult, because if it happens, I will leave a team I really love, a team where we shared a lot of years together and where I feel really comfortable. That will be difficult, but at the other side you will know the situation, why you have to leave.
“It always depends on the situation, but that I will be devastated that I will not be able to play with this team anymore? For sure.”
Where might Wijnaldum end up?
There have been persistent links with Barcelona, whose manager Ronald Koeman coached Wijnaldum with the Dutch national team.
It is understood that Wijnaldum is keen on the idea of moving to Camp Nou, but the Liga giants’ precarious financial situation meant a move was not possible, either last summer or in January. It remains to be seen whether they are willing to back Koeman by signing the former PSV man this year.
Paris Saint-Germain are another club who have expressed interest, while Juventus and Inter are understood to be monitoring the situation too.