Georgino Wijnaldum has admitted that Paris Saint-Germain’s speedy negotiations ensured he joined them, despite an offer from Barcelona.
After leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, the Netherlands international was widely expected to join Barca and play under his compatriot Ronald Koeman.
However, at the eleventh hour, Wijnaldum opted to snub the offer from the Nou Camp and instead join Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG.
His three-year contract was confirmed earlier this week, with Dutch outlet De Telegraaf claiming he will earn around £8.6million (after tax).
Asked why he decided to take up the Parisians’ offer, he revealed that their urgency and clarity of project were both deciding factors.
“It was a difficult choice. We negotiated with Barcelona for 4 weeks, but we did not reach an agreement,” he explained.
“PSG were just quicker and their project spoke to me more. To be honest, I thought I was joining Barcelona because at the beginning they were the only interested club.
“PSG and Barcelona are both truly great clubs, and both are clubs where I would have liked to play. I wanted to make my decision before the start of the Euros and in the end I chose PSG.”
Many anticipated Wijnaldum, along with his international colleague Memphis Depay would both have signed for Barca before their Euro 2020 campaign gets underway next week.
Depay is waiting to complete his deal however and the ex-Liverpool star has claimed securing his future before the tournament was a priority for him.
“It is what I wanted. I did not want distractions during the tournament. It is good to start the Eurocup with the future decided and resolved, you need to be focused to compete.”
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The 30-year-old joins a richly talented squad in the French capital and one that will be going all out for Champions League glory after more frustration last season.
Manchester City got the better of Pochettino’s side last time around, but Wijnaldum is confident his new manager is the type that will continue to improve the players at his disposal.
“It’s a club that plays for titles and plays to win and I’m really looking forward to joining. I’ve heard a lot of good stories about the team.
“I’ve heard it’s a good team, a close team and I’m looking forward to enjoying my time.”
He added: “As a footballer you always want to play with the best players around you and when I look at the team and when I spoke to the manager I saw a team full of talent, big players and also saw a manager that can make players even better and is capable of bringing those players all together.”