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Barcelona rules out Wijnaldum signing with the rise of Ilaix



Photo by Paul Greenwood via Imago

Ronald Koeman with his arrival at Barcelona expectedly brought numerous transfer links along with him, more notably of players whom he favored from his last job at the Netherlands National Team.

Some of them were his genuine targets while others were usual transfer rumors. One of those targets was the Liverpool veteran, Georginio Wijnaldum who Koeman saw as a strong physical presence in the middle of the park, someone who could distribute the play and link the attack to midfield.

His signing was to allow Koeman to deploy a system similar to the one he played at Holland, enabling Frenkie de Jong to slot into the deep midfield position. Wijnaldum’s work-rate was also a major factor as to why he was targetted. Regaining possession quickly and breaking the opposition’s buildup play is something he has excelled at Liverpool.

On paper, the transfer made sense and with his contract talks stalling in Merseyside, the signing looked likely as we approached the end of the summer transfer window but due to several contributing factors from both sides, the dutchman never arrived.

Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum with Ronald Koeman during National Team training | Photo via Imago

Koeman made his intentions clear to club hierarchy and the Catalans were excepted to move again for Wijnaldum in the next window, this time with better planning but since then a lot has changed.

To achieve his favored system without his favored players, Koeman had to look for alternatives in his current squad. With no player in the first team fitting Wijnaldum’s profile, he explored different formations and systems trying to maximize the attributes of players he had at his disposal but with inconsistent results, he turned to the famed La Masia and as ever, it did not disappoint.

Several youngsters have flourished under Koeman this season but the emergence of Ginea-born midfielder, Ilaix Moriba has been one of the most notable ones. He is someone who always been rated very highly by coaches in the youth setup, touted as one of the best players of the next generation.

With a profile different to the La Masia template, the promising midfielder has managed to gain Koeman’s trust with his tenacity and technical ability on the ball. From making his first-team debut in CDR against Cornella to making his UCL debut against PSG this week, he has not looked back.

His arrival onto the scene has had a different impact on different people within the club. For Koeman, he has found the player with the attributes he was looking for which in-turn has led to the probable signing of Gini Wijnaldum to be ruled out as reported earlier by Sport:

Ilaix Moriba has closed the Barcelona door on Wijnaldum’s face. Koeman has found the right man for his midfield, and the club have ruled out signing the Dutchman from Liverpool.

For other youngsters like Riqui Puig, who have struggled for game time, it means more competition for places but for the club as a whole, it means a brighter future which is the sole wish of fans and well-wishers alike.

Article by Yugam Sahni

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