June 10, (THEWILL)- The smart move by Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain to steal Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from a projected move to La Liga’s Barcelona has been made official with an announcement from the Paris-based outfit that the player, whose contract with the Reds expires at the end of this month, has signed a three-year deal.
The 30-year-old had gone into advanced talks with Barca and preparations were on ground for the player’s medicals ahead of completing a proposed move to the Catalans before PSG came in and seized the deal.
Wijnaldum moved from Newcastle to Liverpool in 2016 for the sum of £23m and featured in 237 games for the Reds with whom he went on to win the English Premier League and Champions League in 2019.
Speaking after the confirmation, Wijnaldum said: “Signing for Paris Saint-Germain is a new challenge for me. I’m joining one of the best squads in Europe and I want to bring all my desire and commitment to this ambitious project.
“Paris Saint-Germain have proved how good they are in recent years and I am convinced that together, with our supporters, we can go even further and higher.”
The Dutch player, who is currently on international duty with his country’s senior men’s squad, struggled with form and injury, this season, which coloured the impact of his contribution. Yet, that did not stop him from ranking high as one of their most consistent performers this season at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp considered Wijnaldum highly, naming him the team’s “most consistent” player in their extremely turbulent season. Wijnaldum played every League game for the Reds and even captained Liverpool in a few outings.
All these were behind the interest from Barca, including the fact that by getting him on a free transfer, they were not just adding quality to their team but also saving on transfer fees with the club operating a severely tight budget.
PSG will be expecting that having got the man before the Catalans could finalise the move, that Wijnaldum will play a similarly key role when he comes back from the European Championships, where he will captain his country in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, his now former teammate and countryman.
Until there is movement out of the Paris side, Wijnaldum will join a PSG midfield that includes Marco Verratti, Ander Herrera, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Leandro Paredes, Julian Draxler, Pablo Sarabia, Rafinha and Danilo Pereira. The competition for places will be manager Mauricio Pochettino’s headache to sort out.
As Pochettino’s first signing, Wijnaldum will get some favour but must deliver on the promise he holds.