Gini Wijnaldum left Anfield after his contract expired this year. The 30-year-old Dutch midfielder left Liverpool for Paris Saint-Germain, leaving a hole in the Reds’ squad.
Klopp has been looking for a replacement for Gini for quite some time, with names like Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, Ajax’s Ryan Gravenberch, Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, Rennes’ Eduardo Camavinga and Borussia Monchengladbach’s Florian Neuhaus among the players who have been reportedly on his radar, but Saúl Ñíguez is thought to be the most likely to fill the hole Gini left behind.
Now, in turn, it seems that a rival may grab him right from under Klopp’s nose - and the reason seems to be the price tag.
The name of Ñíguez probably sounds familiar for football fans and online betting aficionados as well. Born in Alicante, Ñíguez started playing football at the age of 12 with Real Madrid, moving to Atlético after a couple of years. Upon graduating from the team’s youth academy, he played with Atlético’s B team for a few years, then advanced to the first team in 2012.
Since then, he played more than 220 league games for Atlético, scoring more than 25 times in the process.
Ñíguez represented Spain at various youth levels over the years. He truly made his presence felt at the 2017 U-21 European Championship, where he became the top goalscorer and helped Spain finish second.
He was capped for the Spanish squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, too.
Ñíguez is a versatile player capable of playing in various styles, in the middle as well as in defence, with a remarkable physique and great timing.
Saúl Ñíguez would be a great addition to Liverpool’s midfield - unfortunately, in turn, it seems that the deal won’t go down. Reportedly, Liverpool made an offer worth £34.17 million for the player, possibly relying on the fact that, after the pandemic-ridden 2020, the selling clubs will accept a lower offer.
Atlético, in turn, set the price tag higher - to €50 million (or £42.72 million), happy to sell to any team that can meet their demand.
It appears that Barcelona, despite its precarious financial situation, is ready to meet Atlético’s demand - even though they’ll have to do some financial magic to make it work. The Catalan team is in hot water because of its salary fund - it has to cut player wages by almost €200 million after last year’s record losses.
The club will have to reduce the amount it spends on wages by 30%, otherwise, they’ll have issues with registering the players they’ve already signed this summer. According to press reports, the club is willing to let go of several of its star players, including Griezmann, to be able to refresh their roster with younger talent this year.