Barcelona’s board are happy Georginio Wijanldum will stay at Liverpool, reports say. The Netherlands international had become Ronald Koeman’s priority transfer target following his appointment at the Nou Camp. But the club’s hierarchy never wanted to pursue the player in the first place.
Wijnaldum recently held crunch talks over his Liverpool future with manager Jurgen Klopp.
And the Barcelona transfer target has now decided to remain at Anfield, and is hopeful of signing a new contract over on Merseyside.
For Koeman, it’s a blow. He had hoped to bring his compatriot to Catalonia but, now, his hopes have been dashed.
And OKDiario claim that’s come as a relief to the Barcelona hierarchy, who hadn’t wanted to fund a deal for the former Newcastle star in the first place.
Instead, they’d rather pursue players who fit the style of the club.
And Barcelona are now set to go after Thiago Alcantara, who has been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool amid uncertainty over his Bayern Munich future.
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The Spain international actually rose up through the ranks of the Barcelona academy and was once touted as the natural heir to Xavi.
However, Barcelona let Thiago join Bayern in the summer transfer window of 2013 after the midfielder had his head turned by Pep Guardiola, who had managed him before.
Now, it seems like they’re about to try and bring him back.
And while Liverpool will be delighted with Wijnaldum staying put, missing out on Thiago could frustrate Klopp – who has already missed out on Timo Werner to Chelsea.
Meanwhile, speaking recently, Thiago admitted that his move away from Bayern wasn’t set in stone – despite the Bundesliga giants practically saying otherwise.
“I have not said at any time that I am leaving,” he said.
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“Every year you put me in a different team.
“I am on the sidelines, my future is tomorrow’s game right now. I neither care nor am I interested in what I know I talked.”
Former Liverpool star and Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness thinks Thiago is the perfect player for Klopp at Liverpool.
“The perfect time to sign players is when they do not have to be an instant hit but can be gradually introduced,” Souness wrote in The Times .
“So I am disappointed that Liverpool haven’t done so while they are reigning Premier League and world champions.
“That worked well with the likes of Fabinho and Robertson, who came to the fore after spending several months learning the system and could bed in without the spotlight being on them.
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“That was classic Liverpool when I played there and classic Manchester United for over more than 20 years under Sir Alex Ferguson – to strengthen from a position of power.”
He then added: “Thiago Alcantara, the Bayern Munich midfielder, would be perfect because he works his socks off but is also gifted technically.
“He is 29, but he still has a couple of years, maybe three, at the highest level left in him.
“As it stands, Liverpool are the favourites for the title, but I don’t see them running away with it again. I expect a bigger challenge, from United and Chelsea this time.
“United will be better with Donny van de Beek, but the goalkeeping situation may be an issue. Chelsea have signed well, but let’s see how quickly Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz settle in.
“Beyond that, I don’t see a title challenger. People are making noises about Arsenal, but I don’t see them being strong enough. If you’re asking me now, that’s my top four for next May: Liverpool, City, United and Chelsea.”
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