New Liverpool midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed, the moment he spoke with Klopp, he had no interest in joining any other club. Tottenham and Everton were hoping to sign him.
The Dutchman joined Liverpool on a five-year deal for a fee of £23 million, with £2 million in extras from Newcastle. He talks about the meeting with Klopp, that made his decision for him.
Pochettino and Koeman were hoping to acquire the versatile midfielder. However, the German manager, gave Wijnaldum valid reasons as to why he will fit in perfectly at Liverpool.
“It was straight after the conversation I had with Jurgen Klopp that I had the feeling that I wanted to come to Liverpool,” said Wijnaldum, fresh off his first training session with the club at Stanford University’s Maloney Field.
“Of course Liverpool is a big club with a good history. Everyone knows that.
“But there had to be a match. He’s in charge and if a great trainer like him wants you then it gives you more confidence to come to a club like this.
“There was interest from Everton yes, but Liverpool had more interest.
“Jurgen gave me a good feeling in that conversation. Straight after that I wanted to sign for Liverpool.”
On the talk, Klopp revealed the pair “both knew we wanted to work together.” The 49-year-old was enthused by Wijnaldum’s devotion to the game, as well as his willingness to be part of Liverpool’s long-term vision.
And the player highlights why the discussion influenced the decision on his future so heavily.
“In that conversation he made me feel really good. He gave me a lot of confidence because he said he liked my way of playing football.
“He said I was a person he really wanted to have in his squad.
“Something like that is always good to hear. It made me happy, especially as it came from such a great trainer like Jurgen Klopp.
“He showed how good he is at [Borussia] Dortmund with all the success he had. It’s always great when a trainer of that kind of ability says he needs you in his team.”
Wijnaldum made it clear that former Reds boss Rafael Benitez wanted him to stay on at St James’ Park, but did explain to him that “Liverpool is a big club.”
The Dutchman detailed: “The biggest thing he said was that he wanted to keep me for Newcastle.
“He didn’t want to sell me, but he said that if a great offer came in they would think about it. He wanted to keep me there.
“That was the first thing he said. He didn’t say: ‘You need to go to Liverpool’ because he wanted me to stay at Newcastle.”
Wijnaldum arrived at the team hotel in East Palo Alto on Saturday afternoon, and laced up with his new team-mates for their evening session.
He did not participate in the more intense drills, but worked on passing rhythms and watched intently as Klopp explained his demands for attacking build-up play, counter-pressing and being patient yet incisive.