KEY POINTS

  • New Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman wants to pursue Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum, a report said
  • Koeman and Wijnaldum worked together when the former was manager of the Dutch national team
  • Barcelona has found a potential replacement for Lionel Messi

As part of Barcelona’s major revamp this summer, newly appointed manager Ronald Koeman is targeting Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum, who was also his former player, reports from Spain said.

Several names have been linked to a departure from Barcelona this summer, with Barca midfielders Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic reportedly among those Koeman is planning to unload. To fill the void in the squad, the Dutchman wants to sign Liverpool midfield sensation Wijnaldum, Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo reported.

Following a historic Premier League season, the Reds are expected to keep their notable players. However, Wijnaldum is currently in his final year with the club, which means that if Liverpool will not extend his contract, he could leave for free next summer.

Things could take a huge turn for Wijnaldum as his former coach and fellow countrymen Koeman, is now keen on getting him on his Barcelona squad.

Koeman “endorses” the signing of Wijnaldum to the Barca board for two main reasons, the report said.

First, Koeman sees Wijnaldum as a complete midfielder who could play several roles for the team. On top of that, Koeman is confident about the player’s work rate as they have experience working together when he was the manager of the Dutch national team.

Some have also suggested that Wijnaldum wouldn’t find it hard to adjust to Koeman’s system given there’s one player in the squad whom he has already played with – Frenkie de Jong.

Koeman previously revealed that he has plans to keep De Jong as he plays well when he is in his natural position. This could mean a completely new midfield look in Barcelona’s squad should Wijnaldum end up joining the Spanish side.

Koeman’s side is expected to struggle with closing deals this summer, at least until it finally completes a couple of departures.

Ronald Koeman returns to the club he helped win the European Cup in 1992 Ronald Koeman returns to the club he helped win the European Cup in 1992 Photo: AFP / Josep LAGO

One departure that could end up opening a lot of room in the budget for Barcelona is Lionel Messi's. Talks of the Barca captain reuniting with his former coach, Pep Guardiola, in Manchester City are said to be progressing.

Recent reports revealed that senior executives in Barcelona are convinced that a reunion between the two is inevitable and are already preparing for Messi’s departure.

While nothing has been confirmed yet, Barcelona is targeting Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez as Messi’s possible replacement.

The tension in Barcelona is said to be growing as Messi will not join the team in the upcoming coronavirus testing and training sessions.

Jurgen Klopp, Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum Liverpool manager Jugen Klopp with Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino Photo: Reuters