The explosion of Ilaix closes the door on Liverpool's Wijnaldum

Koeman wanted to sign the Dutch midfielder last summer but the situation has changed

| sport

Jordi Gil

Gini Wijnaldum was one of the players Ronald Koeman wanted to sign when he joined FC Barcelona. The Dutch coach felt the Liverpool man was execatly what was needed in midfield.

With his contract into the final year at Anfield, it seems an affordable transfer. However, there was no offer in the end and the option was left on ice. Months later, the chance of Wijnaldum moving to Camp Nou has been practically ruled out.

Wijnaldum, 30, is available for free in the summer, so Barça would be able to make him an offer at least as he weighs up where to spend the final years of his career. But finances are not the reason the Catalan club have cooled their interest.

The Ilaix boom

The reason in Ilaix Moriba, whose performances in recent games have led Barça to prioritise other positions, such as defence and attack.

Ilaix, 18, ticks man of the boxes that Koeman was looking for with Wijnaldum, with added qualities, too, such as his understanding of Barça's game, better technique, youth and a hunger to succeed at Camp Nou.

Wijnaldum is powerful and gives balance thanks to his ability to go box to box. But his arrival could hinder Ilaix's progress and Barça have decided to maintain their bet on the academy graduate.

Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum is aware his chances of joining Barça have reduced and his priority now is to renew with Liverpool. This week, he even recognised it would be "really difficult" if he had to leave Anfield this summer.

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