Barcelona president Joan Laporta reportedly wants to bring in Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool this summer to be the club’s ‘new Edgar Davids’ for next season.
The 30-year-old has reached a “verbal agreement” with the Catalan giants and will sign a three-year deal at the Camp Nou shortly, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.
Laporta sees Wijnaldum as a player who can solve Barca’s midfield problems in the same way Davids did when the president brought him to the club in his first spell in charge in 2004, according to Xavier Bosch at Mundo Deportivo.
Davids joined on a six-month loan and instantly added bite to the midfield alongside Xavi and Phillip Cocu. The Dutchman’s arrival also prompted a turnaround in fortunes for Barca. The team was struggling badly when Davids, nicknamed the ‘The Pitbull’ by Louis van Gaal, arrived but finished the season as runners-up and beat Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
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Barcelona Banking On Free Transfers
Wijnaldum looks set to be one of four players to arrive at the Camp Nou on a free transfer this summer as the cash-strapped Catalan giants attempt to strengthen their squad.
Manchester City duo Eric Garcia and striker Sergio Aguero are also expected to arrive following the end of the Citizens’ season. Pep Guardiola’s side finish off on Saturday with a Champions League final against Chelsea.
Lyon star Memphis Depay is also expected to arrive on a free transfer after his contract with the French side expires. The Dutchman’s transfer does not depend on whether Ronald Koeman remains in charge, according to ESPN.
Barcelona is also expected to try and offload a host of players in a bid to free up the wage bill and raise some finances. Koeman has a created a ‘blacklist’ consisting of nine players he deems surplus to requirements following the culmination of the 2020-21 campaign.
All Change In La Liga For 2021-22?
Yet Koeman’s future remains in doubt following a disappointing end to the season. Laporta has told the Barca boss that he wants 15 days to try and find a replacement, according to Catalunya Radio.
The Dutchman still has a year left to run on his existing deal but will only stay on if a suitable replacement can not be found this summer. Koeman has said he wants to continue and see out his contract.
Koeman may not be the only big-name manager departing this summer. Real Madrid confirmed Thursday that coach Zinedine Zidane has left the club in a statement on the team’s official website.
A change in manager at both La Liga giants would add further intrigue to the 2021-22 season, particularly as both teams will be aiming to replace Atletico Madrid as champions of Spain.
Diego Simeone’s side finished two points clear of Real Madrid, and seven ahead of Barcelona, meaning the two fierce rivals have plenty of work to do this summer to get back on track for the new season.