Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum kept his cards close to his chest when asked about Barcelona’s interest in him earlier this week, but former Arsenal star Paul Merson believes the midfielder faces a straightforward decision.
The 29-year-old has less than a year remaining on his current contract and is yet to commit his future to the Premier League champions, despite having played a prominent role in last season’s record breaking campaign.
Jurgen Klopp maintains a keen interest in Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, but will only move for the Spain international should a space open up in his star studded squad.
Wijnaldum appears the most likely midfielder to depart with new Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman, who managed the former Feyenoord star at international level, keen to bring the player to Camp Nou.
Koeman has inherited a squad damaged by last month’s Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich and rocked by the Lionel Messi transfer saga. And with the Catalan giants in such a state of disarray, Merson feels Wijnaldum’s career would be best served by snubbing Barcelona’s interest.
He told the Daily Star: ‘Liverpool would be mad to sell Georginio Wijnaldum – and he’d be mad to go!
‘They’ve just won the league for the first time in forever, they won the Champions League. They’re one of the best teams around.
‘And the days of Barcelona poaching your best players are gone. How long will it take them to get back to the top?
‘The lad gets big goals and his workrate is immense. He is under-estimated in my opinion. Doesn’t get enough credit.
‘That’s going to be a major blow if he leaves. Their midfield three won them the league. It gave the full backs a chance to bomb on and the front three confidence to play.’