Gini Wijnaldum has suggested Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are the main reason he is set to leave the club in the next few weeks, declaring that he would “have loved to remain a Liverpool player for many more years”.
The Dutchman bode an emotional farewell to the Merseyside club in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday on the final day of the 2019-20 Premier League season.
The Reds’ victory, thanks to a Sadio Mane brace at Anfield, meant they finished third in the Premier League despite a difficult and injury-hit campaign.
Wijnaldum captained the team in his 51st appearance of the season and his 237th match overall since joining from Newcastle for £25million back in 2016.
And afterwards the Netherlands international had to fight back tears in interviews as he finally confirmed that he will depart at the end of his contract on July 1.
Barcelona are the frontrunners to sign Wijnaldum, whose future at Liverpool has long been up in the air, although he has yet to put pen to paper to join another club as a free agent.
Liverpool are thought to have tabled a contract offer to the 30-year-old some time ago but he felt the weekly pay they offered him was not befitting of his status, and the offer was not raised despite that.
Wijnaldum will be a huge loss and has been one of Liverpool’s most dependable and most-used performers under Jurgen Klopp.
He was a part of the squad’s leadership group and started with the armband on 10 occasions this term.
And it appears that Wijnaldum is only departing because the club’s hierarchy did not want to stump up the salary the midfielder feels he is worth.
Wijnaldum wrote in an Instagram statement: “It’s really emotional for me right now, I’m very happy that we managed to get the third place and secure Champions League football for the club next season.
“On the other hand I’m fighting back tears, the people in Liverpool have showed me so much love in the last five years. It’s very hard to say goodbye.
“The prizes we won, fans singing my name, I will never forget the amazing things we achieved with this fantastic club. We shared unforgettable moments together, no one can ever take that from us.
“I would have loved to remain a Liverpool player for many more years, but unfortunately things went different. I have to start a new adventure.
“I didn’t sign somewhere else, everyone knows in football everything can happen. The situation right now is that as of July 1st, I’m not a Liverpool player anymore. We will see what I will do in the next couple of weeks. I will rest a little bit and then go to the national team.
“I will have a look at my story and how everything went. The fans deserve to know the story behind it. Thank you for everything, I will miss you #YNWA.”
Liverpool manager Klopp was gushing with praise for Wijnaldum post-match, having made it clear on several occasions he wanted the player to stay at the club.
Klopp admits he is gutted to say farewell to such a loyal and effective servant but says he will hold phone calls with any club interested in signing him on a free.
The German coach said: “Where can I start? I met this wonderful player for the first time – we played, obviously, against him, and the first time I met him was in my living room at home because I had see to him and talk to him.
“From the first moment it clicked between us. He is a very friendly, very smart, very open person, and that never changed, that just improved.
“Yes, it is very emotional for me because I lose a friend and I will miss him, that’s how it is. But it’s normal in football that these kind of things happen – it’s not always nice, but normal, and I am really sure he will find a great place.
“Each club who is interested in him should call me and ask about him. Then you will take him, definitely, because I could not be more positive about what he did here. It’s incredible.
“He was not only always available, he played 90 per cent of the time really, really good. People might not know exactly what I mean with ‘good’ because sometimes it’s not that spectacular.
“Sometimes it’s that, but from a young kid he was an offensive No 10, to a winger at Newcastle, to coming here and becoming such a controlling midfielder.
“That’s a massive step and you only can do that when you understood the game, really, in the right way. He scored incredibly important goals: Barcelona, Cardiff I think was very, very important, Middlesbrough was very important.
“So many top, top-class performances. Now, it looks like the time is over but everything will be fine and nobody can take our memories from us. We will share them forever and that’s really great.
“I told him that after the game, he sees it the same way and the goodbye would not be tough if the time you had together was not worth it. So, it’s really tough because we had a great time together.”