'The president wanted to play with me' - Koeman claims Laporta got in the way of Barca's Wijnaldum move
Georginio Wijnaldum was up for sale to Barcelona, but Ronald Koeman believes club president Joan Laporta blocked the deal.
Ronald Koeman said that president Joan Laporta's tardiness in finalising a deal caused an attempt to sign Georginio Wijnaldum to Barcelona to fall through.
The Dutchman struggled at times on the Barcelona bench and was eventually replaced by Xavi after 14 months in charge at Camp Nou. He was ousted by the LaLiga team in October.
After the World Cup in Qatar, Koeman, who will take over as head coach of the Netherlands for a second time, has admitted he tried to sign fellow countryman Wijnaldum during Barcelona's final transfer window.
However, Koeman contends that president Laporta, then recently returned to the position as Josep Maria Bartomeu's successor, stymied any move by dragging his heels.
"I tried to sign Wijnaldum for Barca, but I failed because the president wanted to play with me more than bring in a player," Koeman told Dutch newspaper AD.
"That delayed the operation, and for that reason, he opted for PSG. Otherwise, he would have played for Barcelona."
Wijnaldum left Liverpool in June 2021 to join Paris Saint-Germain, but he struggled across a dismal first season, resulting in him being loaned out to Roma for the current campaign.
A serious leg injury has since left Wijnaldum sidelined, however, making it highly unlikely he will be included in the Netherlands' squad for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.