After Leo Messi decided, begrudgingly, to stay with the club, the new Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman can now focus on bringing in new players who will help him take the club back to winning titles.
Main targets for the 57 year-old manager are his fellow Dutchmen Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum. Both players have been part of the Netherlands national team when Koeman was in charge and sees them as great assets for the upcoming season.
In the past three decades, around 20 Dutch players have played significant roles in Barcelona’s success, and after the first trophy-less season since 2008, Koeman goes with with a proven recipe for winning in Spain as a player, that he will need to replicate from the bench.
Barcelona is ready to spend around €55 million on the two players, 30 for Wijnaldum and 25 for Depay.
The club management wanted to bring Thiago Alcantara back in their squad, but the new manager prefers Liverpool’s Wijnaldum who will may well be replaced in the Premier League champions’ side by Alcantara. Wijnaldum is reportedly unhappy with the Reds’ extension offer and has already agreed personal terms with the Catalan giant.
Wijnaldum was one of the key players in Jurgen Klopp’s championship winning team, and Barcelona’s fans remember him for the two goals he scored against them in a fantastic 4-0 victory in the return match of the 2019 Champions League semi-finals. The winning mentality, coachability and work ethic are the reasons why Koeman insists on Wijnaldum. The 29-year-old is known as a player who covers a lot of ground on the pitch and helps the team defensively and in attack, something that Koeman especially needs in setting up his system in the Barcelona’s playing style.
In a similar situation in his current team is Memphis Depay who, like Wijnaldum, is entering his last year of his contract with Lyon. The French team is aware that they won’t be able to keep him and are determined to sell in this transfer window. Depay was on Barcelona’s wish list even prior to Koeman’s arrival, and now especially with the departure of Suarez, it is almost certain that Depay will take his place in the Barca’s attack. Depay is known as a good scorer, but also a great technician who would fit in well with the midfield.
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