Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum insists he is happy at the club and does not feel like he has to leave but has considered how devastating it would be if he did.
The Holland international is into the last four months of his contract at Anfield and has long been linked with Barcelona and a reunion with his former national team boss Ronald Koeman.
But while Jurgen Klopp, safe in the knowledge he has a contract until 2024, had no hesitation in ruling himself out of a departure with the Germany job becoming available in the summer, Wijnaldum could not be so categorical.
Here's @GWijnaldum being the most open he has been to date about his @LFC contract issue. Says he would be "devastated" to leave but "it is not that easy as everyone thinks it is to make some decisions for your future" pic.twitter.com/R9opnM91vV— Carl Markham (@carlmarkham) March 9, 2021
“The only thing I can say is that I am really happy at the club, really happy with the team and the staff and really happy with the fans for whom I play,” he said.
“It is not that I am not happy and I have to leave but it is not that easy as everyone thinks it is to make some decisions for your future.
“First you have to negotiate with the club and it is so difficult to deal with all kind of things and that is why it takes so long and also, the situation we are in, it is not the most important thing right now.
“The most important thing is to get back on track and winning games again and then we will see. I am really happy here and my family is happy here but there is no news.
“But I would be devastated (if) I didn’t play with this team any more, that’s for sure.”
Wijnaldum will be 31 in November and while he may have been Liverpool’s most reliable player in a season crippled by injuries to senior players that does not make him indispensable.
The stumbling block over the length and financial terms of a new deal are not insurmountable but owners Fenway Sports Group are not known for handing out lucrative offers to employees approaching the end of their usefulness.
Wijnaldum is the third-oldest outfield player behind James Milner (35) and captain Jordan Henderson (five months older than the Dutchman) and if this season has proved anything it is that the squad will need refreshing before it gets too old together.
It has left Wijnaldum, who has made 224 appearances in almost six years, having to realistically consider walking away from the club with which he won the Champions League and Premier League.
“Really difficult. If that happens, you would be leaving a team that you really love. A team that you shared a lot of years together, a team where you feel really comfortable,” he said.
“But on the other side, you would know the situation why you have to leave. It always depends on the situation.”
Klopp was quick to distance himself from the Germany job after he was installed as one of the favourites when Joachim Low announced on Tuesday he had negotiated to leave his contract a year early after Euro 2020.
“If you want to ask if I am available for the job of the coach of the German national team in the summer… No. I will not be available,” was the response from the Reds boss.
“I have three years left at Liverpool, that’s a simple statement, a simple situation. You sign a contract and you normally try to stick to that contract don’t you?
“I had a contract in Mainz where I stuck with them even though there was interest from other Bundesliga teams with more money.
“It is just timing and if it doesn’t work out you don’t have to lose any sleep over it.”
Klopp’s immediate focus is getting his side through the last-16 Champions League tie against RB Leipzig in Budapest in which they hold a 2-0 advantage from the first leg.
Their Bundesliga opponents have won eight of the last nine with their only blip that defeat to Liverpool, whose confidence is rock-bottom after an unprecedented six successive home league defeats.
“We never had momentum in the Premier League but we have momentum in the Champions League: we qualified from the group stages, we played very well against Leipzig,” said Klopp.
“Of course they have a very different momentum as they have won four matches on the trot so statistically it is different but the good thing about football is the previous results don’t have an influence on the match. If it is a different tournament even less so.”
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