Georginio Wijnaldum will make a decision on his long-term future in the next few days, and will inform Liverpool where his future lies this week.
The Dutchman has played more minutes for the Reds than any other player under Jurgen Klopp and his importance to the side has been further highlighted by the injury crisis that has befallen them this season.
He may be statistically understated but is an essential part of everything they do, and has missed just two games this season – in the EFL Cup against Lincoln City and the Champions League dead rubber with FC Midtjylland.
He was heavily linked with an exit during the summer with Barcelona, managed by his former international boss Ronald Koeman, keeping an eye on things. A formal offer didn’t materialise, and he has held his place in the team despite the arrival of Thiago Alcantara, who has spent most of the season so far out injured.
However, Wijnaldum’s deal expires in the summer and he has kept his cards close to his chest on whether he will extend his stay at Anfield into a sixth season. It has been widely reported that the Reds are reluctant to meet his contract demands, refusing to make him one of the top earners at the club or offer the 30-year-old a long-term deal.
Sky Sports report that he will decide this week whether to sign the contract on the table or move on. They say that Liverpool will be informed first should he decide to enter negotiations with another club over a free transfer.
Wijnaldum is free to discuss a transfer with foreign teams from January but maintains an excellent relationship with the club and manager Klopp, something he is not keen to sully with a sour exit.
Should he leave, it is likely to be on amicable terms, and Barcelona remain the club most likely to make a deal happen. Sky note that Koeman is ‘hopeful’ of landing the experienced midfielder, and that Wijnaldum is interested in reuniting with his compatriot, though has not yet decided one way or another.