Barcelona Wanted the Liverpool player at Barcelona
Ronald Koeman isn’t denying that he wanted Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum to join him at Barcelona this past summer transfer window. The Dutchman had been linked with a move to the Camp Nou to work with his former international coach.
Wijnaldum, along with compatriot Memphis Depay, had been a target for the Catalans although they were unable to get either signing over the line:”He [Wijnaldum] was on my list,” Koeman admitted to NOS.
Lyon’s Memphis Savings came close to completing a move late in the market, and Koeman was never shy about his desire to bring more Dutch players to the club. “We hope to have a second Dutchman in the squad,” Koeman said, with Frenkie de Jong being the first working under him.
The coach did rule out Barcelona being dominated by Dutch players though, dismissing a suggestion that he could follow what Louis van Gaal had done at the Camp Nou.”That was extreme”, Koeman said. “There were eight or nine then. Now we have De Jong and then Alfred Schreuder on the coaching staff with me.”
Lionel Messi posed a problem for Koeman upon his arrival in Catalonia, but the new coach is happy to be working with the captain now. “I spoke with him when I signed as coach,” Koeman explained. “I already knew about his discontent but everything went well in the end. He’s done everything I expect of him since he said that he’d continue [at the club].”
Another difficult situation that the coach had to face was Luis Suarez’s exit.”I never had any problem with him,” Koeman said, denying a fallout. “The club thought we had to refresh the team and you can see that with the group we have with players like Ansu Fati, Trincao, Pedri and [Ronald] Araujo.”