Wijnaldum: Why I rejected Barcelona to sign for PSG

Martin Macdonald
Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool, 2020/21

Georginio Wijnaldum insists he did not choose Paris Saint-Germain over Barcelona for financial reasons.

The Dutchman officially became a free agent on 30 June after his contract with Liverpool expired.

Wijnaldum had been locked in talks with the Reds over an extension but no agreement could be made, which led to his eventual transfer to PSG.

As his contract ticked down, it was generally assumed that he would sign for Barcelona as it was the Blaugrana who were credited with the most concrete interest, while Wijnaldum previously worked with head coach Ronald Koeman in the Dutch national team set up.

But, PSG eventually gazumped Barca to sign the midfielder on a deal until 2024.

He has explained how the move came about, telling RMC Sport:

"It's funny because I must admit that it was a very difficult choice. I have supported Barca since I was young, I am a fan of this club. We were in negotiations with them and I had a good feeling but I PSG were also negotiating with other clubs. PSG even arrived before Barca.

"We had just talked but it was not really negotiations. they came back after Barca's interest. I spoke to Leonardo, then to [Mauricio] Pochettino whom I had known from his time at Tottenham, where I had spoken to him once because he wanted to recruit me. At the time, I had I already have a good feeling about working with him. He explained the PSG project to me, the fact that they want to win more titles in France but also in Europe.

"He told me what kind of club it was. I told myself it was a good project and told them that I was open to listen to them. From there, the negotiations went very well and they did everything, really everything, to get me to sign."

Not about the money for Wijnaldum

Wijnaldum will reportedly earn around €10 million per year at PSG for the duration of his contract - an offer that allegedly eclipsed what Barcelona were offering.

However, even though the Dutchman admitted he was a Barcelona fan, he says the decision to join PSG instead of the Catalan side was not motivated by the bigger contract.

"They (PSG) were faster in the negotiations and I had a good feeling about signing for PSG," he revealed.

I deny that I chose PSG for the money
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"It was not a question of making more money here because the difference was not that huge, certified the newcomer. I deny that I chose PSG for the money.

"From what I have seen in recent years, whenever PSG comes to recruit a player, the media say it's because of the money. PSG have to deal with this sort of thing.

"I know the truth from my agent and my family and can confirm that the financial difference between the two was not that great. I had a good feeling with both teams and PSG were faster than Barca so I chose this club."

PSG have been busy in the transfer market this summer as in addition to Wijnaldum they have recruited Achraf Hakimi from Inter for €70m as well as Sergio Ramos on a free transfer from Real Madrid, while Danilo Pereira has joined on a permanent basis from Porto.