The reasons Wijnaldum left Barça hanging to sign for Paris Saint-Germain

The Dutch midfielder changed his mind and decided to sign for the French side at the last minute

| sport

"The best contract of his career," highlight De Telegraaf. "Europe's hierarchy is changing; Paris Saint-Germain are on the way up and Barcelona are going down," add Algemeen Dagblad.

They're some of the reasons the Dutch press have given to explain the sudden change of direction in Georginio Wijnaldum's future, with the midfielder set to sign for PSG having already practically closed an agreement with Barcelona.

The captain of the Dutch national team will sign with PSG until 2024. He joins for free after running down his contract with Liverpool.

Barça were close to signing him (his agent Humphrey Nijman was twice at Camp Nou for talks), but when PSG stepped in, Barça refused to enter an auction. And they ended up resigned to losing the player.

One of the key men in the deal was Leonardo, PSG's sporting director. He maintained conversations with Nijman to convince Wijnaldum via a much bigger salary than Barça were offering.

Sources close to the negotiations have revealed that PSG convinced the player -- a Premier League and Champions League winner with Liverpool -- with a salary worth €10 million net annually. That was not possible for Barça.

Free spending PSG

PSG have shown they are prepared to spend big money. Their dream is to win the Champions League (they reached the final in 2020 and the semifinals in 2021). To manage that, they've invested €530m in the last four seasons. In the case of Wijnaldum, the investment will go on his salary and bonuses, as no fee is due to Liverpool.

Not just money

The financial side of the deal was key, but not the only reason. If Frenkie de Jong bet on Barça in 2019, rejecting a bigger offer from PSG, it was because he wanted to play for Barça.

It was because he felt that special link that many Dutch players feel -- or felt -- when it comes to Barça, for historic reasons. De Jong, in addition, used to holiday on the Costa Brava and each summer visited Camp Nou.

Wijnaldum didn't summer in the Costa Brava or dream of playing at Camp Nou. What's more, on more than one occasion he's said he doesn't even really watch much football and that the game is a way of making a living.

For generations of Dutch players, Barça represented the quintessence of football. But that idea is changing. Not just because Barça have only reached one of the last 10 Champions League finals, but because in 2020 they lost 2-8 to Bayern Munich, because of Rome and Liverpool and because they were eliminated by PSG in the last 16 just a few months ago...

Hierarchy changing

That's led to a changing of the hierarchy and Barça have also gone two years without winning La Liga, too. Lionel Messi still shines but the kids coming through in Holland now increasingly look to figures like Neymar or Mbappe, both at PSG.

Two postures

The Dutch press highlight that in recent years, PSG have gained strength in Europe at the same rhythm as Barça have lost it.

They also say that in talks with Wijnaldum, Barça started from a position of weakness (both in sporting and financial terms), while PSG were much more positive and seductive, with Leonardo charming.

In 2015, PSG had already asked about Wijnaldum, but he preferred Newcastle after leaving PSV.

The conclusion drawn from the Dutch press is that Wijnaldum has gone to PSG for money, but not just for money.




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