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Teun Koopmeiners has emerged as another potential replacement for Gini Wijnaldum for Liverpool, who look set to wave goodbye to the Dutchman on a free transfer at the end of the season.
Wijnaldum’s contract expires at the end of June and he is unwilling to agree to the current extension offer that the Reds have tabled.
The Netherlands international is said to believe he warrants a pay packet more reflective of his status in the squad, having been a dependable operator sicne joining from Newcastle in 2016.
It is thought he earns around £90,000 a week at Anfield currently despite only Roberto Firmino having made more appearances than Wijnaldum, who has racked up 227, under Jurgen Klopp.
However having turned 30 in November, Liverpool are unwilling to hand out a lucrative contract to a player whose status in the squad would likely decline in the coming campaigns, were he to stay.
Instead, it looks likely that Wijnaldum will link up with Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona as a free agent in the summer transfer window.
As such, the reigning Premier League champions – who will soon surrender their crown to Manchester City – are scouring the market for replacements.
Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Lille’s Renato Sanches have been mentioned as transfer targets for the Merseyside club as they pursue a younger player though one still with the dynamic style of Wijnaldum.
And per Calciomercato, AZ Alkmaar midfielder Koopmeiners is the latest player to pop up on Liverpool’s radar.
The AZ captain has scored 17 goals and laid on seven assists in 37 matches this season having also netted 16 times last term, including four goals from centre-back in the final three pre-lockdown matches.
Koopmeiners, an international team-mate of Wijnaldum’s having earned 19 Holland caps, is also the subject of interest from across Europe, including from Roma.
The 23-year-old said recently when asked if he thought the Serie A giants were a nice club to be linked with: “Yes, of course. But I’m still here.
“Interest is always nice, as an appreciation. But we still have a nice battle to go with AZ.”
While he also said: “The interest is there. We will all see what will happen next. I will not go into any further interest.
“It is logical that if we as a team have such a good season that things like this would happen. However, it is not on the agenda yet.”
And while Liverpool are unsure of whether they will have Champions League football to offer to targets for next season, the lure of the club could help them if they do move for Koopmeiners.
Klopp made it clear recently that he does not want to sign players only interested in playing in the Champions League, which Liverpool can still win again this season.
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He said: “The club is in a different situation and it will not be an issue with new players, I can’t see that.
“If that happens, we said it years back, if a player doesn’t want to come to us because we don’t play Champions League next year, I don’t want him.
“And if a player wants to leave us because we don’t play Champions League, I don’t want him.
“It’s not a personal thing, but it’s always like this. You always need to find the right squad for the challenges you face, and then you go for it. That’s how it is. It’s nothing I worry about.
“The owners want me to sort this situation, I want to sort the situation together with the players. That’s the plan.”
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