Where does Gini Wijnaldum’s future lie as Inter and Barca circle for Liverpool ace?

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 3 min read
Where does Gini Wijnaldum’s future lie as Inter and Barca circle for Liverpool ace?

Inter are interested in a move for Liverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum, with the Serie A side set to do battle with Barcelona for the Dutchman’s signature in January.

When Ronald Koeman was appointed Barcelona boss following the club’s exit from the Champions League last season, he made clear two transfer targets for this campaign: Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay of Lyon.

The Blaugrana ultimately couldn’t afford either of the pair due to the financial impact of the pandemic, but still retain an interest in both, though Memphis is perhaps higher on their list.

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  • Wijnaldum is out of contract in the summer, and although Liverpool are keen to tie him down to an extended deal, he will be free to talk to other clubs on 1 January about a free transfer in the summer of 2020.

    Inter, however, are ready to exploit Liverpool’s weakness and sign the player for a cut-price fee in the next transfer window. This would echo the deal they pulled off for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen at the start of the year, reports CalcioMercato.

    Where would he fit in at Inter?

    If there is one thing that Antonio Conte likes, that is an abundance of central midfielders in his squad.

    For the middle of park, the Nerazzurri can currently call upon: Nicolo Barella; Roberto Gagliardini; Stefano Sensi; Arturo Vidal; Matias Vecino; Marcelo Brozovic and Radja Nainggolan.

    If Conte is serious about wanting to recruit Wijnaldum, then it has to come after at least one, probably more, of the above depart San Siro.

    Nainggolan is a certainty to leave, but the rest have had decent amounts of playing time under the former Juventus and Chelsea boss.

    Where would Wijnaldum fit in at Barcelona?

    The spectre of Barcelona also looms large over this deal, as the prospect of linking up with former Netherlands national team head coach Ronald Koeman may be too promising to ignore for Wijnaldum.

    Barca, too, have plenty of centre midfielders, including Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Miralem Pjanic, Riqui Puig and Carles Alena.

    There is perhaps space among that group for another senior player, with Koeman not looking likely to trust Puig or Alena any time soon.

    And with the Dutchman deploying a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, it seems likely that Wijnaldum would slot in beside De Jong – a favourite of Koeman’s – at the expense of club stalwart Busquets.

    Stay at Liverpool?

    When the Reds opened their chequebook to sign Thiago from Bayern, many believed it would signal the end for Wijnaldum at Liverpool, at least as a starting line-up regular.

    However, due to the Spaniard’s injuries and suspension, Wijnaldum has started seven out of Liverpool’s opening eight matches of the 2020/21 Premier League as they attempt to defend their title.

    With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez injured and Fabinho probably having to deputise at the back for longer than expected, it is unlikely Jurgen Klopp would sanction a January move for Wijnaldum for a cut price fee even if he is out of contract in the summer.

    A new, extended contract is also a possibility.