The Netherlands international says Mauricio Pochettino played a key role in convincing him to move to Parc des Princes
Georginio Wijnaldum has explained his decision to join Paris Saint-Germain following months of strong links with La Liga giants Barcelona.
PSG officially announced the signing of Wijnaldum on Thursday, with the midfielder’s move to Parc des Princes set to be finalised when his contract at Liverpool expires at the end of the month.
Barcelona were originally touted as the favourites to land Wijnaldum on a free transfer, but he has ultimately decided to embark on the next stage of his career in Ligue 1, citing Mauricio Pochettino as a major influence.
What’s been said?
The Dutchman, who won the Premier League and Champions League during his five-year stint at Anfield, says that the former Tottenham manager, who replaced Thomas Tuchel at PSG in December, contacted him personally to convince him to join the French outfit.
“I’m happy to join a club like Paris Saint-Germain,” Wijnaldum said in his first official interview at Parc des Princes. “Obviously it’s a club with really good players, a good manager who spoke to before I joined the club. We know each other from years ago.
“As a football player, you always want to play with the best players around you and when I look at the team and also when I spoke with the manager, I saw a team full of talented players and big players.
“And on top of that, I also saw a manager who can make the players even better and also capable of bringing all those players together to make a strong, strong team. I come here trying to write history with this unbelievable team.”
The bigger picture
It has been reported that PSG’s three-year contract offer was far more lucrative than the one Barca were prepared to hand Wijnaldum, but he may also have a better chance of conquering Europe again with Pochettino’s side.
Barca haven’t made it beyond the Champions League quarter-finals in two years, but PSG reached their first-ever final in 2019-20 before making it to the semi-finals again last season.
“Hopefully my help can help the team win the Champions League, that would be great,” Wijnaldum added. “But not only the Champions League, it’s also about the league and the Cup. You just want to win as much as possible for the club and the supporters.”