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Football Reporting
Football Reporting


FC Barcelona – La Liga: Wijnaldum is fascinated by Pochettino after 2016 talks

Barcelona want to sign Georginio Wijnaldum but their plans have had a late setback as it has emerged that Paris Saint-Germain have arrived on the scene with an offer.

Available on a free transfer when he leaves Liverpool as his contract expires on June 30, Barcelona have been negotiating with the midfielder for months.

However, PSG have now made a much more substantial financial offer than Barcelona and also have the advantage of having Mauricio Pochettino in the dugout.

Ronald Koeman once worked with Wijnaldum for the Dutch national team and has been keen on a reunion since moving to Camp Nou, but Pochettino is a long-term fan too.

The Argentinian coach was in charge at Tottenham in 2016, when Spurs tried to sign him from Newcastle. He eventually joined Liverpool as a deal couldn’t be agreed with the Lilywhites.

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“I went to Mauricio Pochettino’s house before I spoke to Liverpool,” Wijnaldum told Dutch magazine VI in 2016.

“After the meeting I told my agent ‘I’m going to join Spurs’. Pochettino is a terrific manager, if you look at the way his teams play. I was impressed with what he had to say.”

“He set out his way of working and I was convinced he could improve any player no matter what age they are.

“His method gives players such specific duties they become better as a result. I saw Spurs as being a very good fit for me – but we were unable to agree financial terms with them.

“With hindsight, though, that was not a disaster. Pochettino was terrific but then Jurgen Klopp made me feel even more relaxed.”

Koeman will have to up the ante to convince Wijnaldum to join Barcelona, and could call upon his brother Erwin, who coached Wijnaldum at Feyenoord before he moved to the Premier League.

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