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Georginio Wijnaldum will be feeling “torn” at Liverpool, says Jason McAteer, with the Dutch midfielder aware that he probably only has “one more big move” left in his career as he sparks talk of interest from Barcelona.
No official approach from Catalunya has been made as yet, with the Blaugrana needing to free up funds from sales, but Wijnaldum figures prominently on their recruitment radar.
McAteer can appreciate why the 29-year-old will be mulling over his options, especially as Thiago Alcantara has now been added to the midfield pool at Anfield, with Barca an opportunity that few players are presented with.
The former Reds star told FreeSuperTips: “I would lovehimWijnaldum to stay. He’s one of those players Jurgen Klopp looks at as one of the first names on the team sheet.
“He’s very industrious – maybedoesn't get as many goals as you'd probably like – but he does that job in the midfield, which is the engine room.
“Midfielders of his typewin a lot of tacklesas well as interceptions, andthen go and giveit to the playersthatdo the damage, which is usually the front three.
“Thiago is probably more creative than any of the other players we've got, and there will be a place for him in certain games becauseteams like to drop.
“Teams will set out to ask questions of Liverpool,to break them down and try to create something, so Thiago would probably play in those kinds of games.
“Gini’s not getting any younger and is out of contract next season. From the player's perspective,RonaldKoeman’s gone in at Barcelona and he’ll know Gini extremely well from the Dutch set-up.
“He’s also won everything with Liverpool and his age now comes into effect. His agent is probably saying ‘You’ve got one more big move in your career. It’s Barcelona’. They're probably going to up his money.
“He’ll be torn at the minute. He doesn't want to leaveMerseyside,butLiverpool’soffer on the table probably doesn’t quite meet Gini’s expectations.”
Liverpool can afford to part with Wijnaldum after landing Thiago for an initial £20 million ($26m), but McAteer feels the Spain international is not the kind of player that Klopp would usually have sought out.
He added on the former Bayern Munich playmaker: “He is a welcome addition, and you can’tknock his quality. But because of his age and the way Liverpool do their business in the transfer market, he doesn't really fit the criteria of the business model we’ve seenthem Liverpool use in the past.
“For a player of that quality, he is relatively cheap,although he did only have a year left at Bayern, he certainly adds something a little bit different to what Jurgen has now.
“WeLiverpool do have nine or 10 midfielders at the minute and that area of the squad is very strong, albeit with a lot of similar players.