Georginio Wijnaldum faced a huge decision last week. Two clubs wanted to sign him and both were offering exciting projects. One of those clubs was Everton, who have just been enriched with the billions of Farhad Moshiri. The other was Liverpool.
Either way, the Dutch international would be swapping Tyneside for Merseyside but it was still a tough call to make. In the end, he chose the red side of the city and joined up with Jurgen Klopp's men once a £25m fee had arrived in Newcastle's bank account.
But if it was not for the German's intervention, Wijnaldum could have been putting on a blue shirt rather than a red one, at least according to the player himself. He has revealed the phone call he shared with Klopp and how the former Borussia Dortmund coach made his tough choice an easy one.
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"He made me feel really good straight away," said Wijnaldum, as per the Daily Mail. "He gave me a lot of confidence, he told me he liked my way of playing football and that he wanted to have me in his squad. He is a great trainer. He showed what he could do at Dortmund and it lifted me to hear that he wanted me.
"Straight after the conversation I had with him, I made my mind up. I had a feeling that I wanted to join Liverpool. They are a big club, with a big history. I know that, everybody knows that but the feelings have to match. He is in charge and if a trainer wants you, it gives you more confidence.
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"I was waiting to see what interest Everton showed in me but Liverpool's interest was greater. Jurgen gave me a good feeling in the conversations I had with him, so my mind was made up."
No advice from Benitez
With Newcastle now in the Championship, it was always likely that their international stars would leave. Wijnaldum was one of their best performers last season and certainly deserved to be playing in the top flight.
Despite this, Rafa Benitez made a last-ditch attempt to convince the 25-year-old to stay at St James' Park.
"He never gave me any advice or told me to go to Liverpool," Wijnaldum continued. "The biggest thing he said to me was that he wanted me to stay. He didn't want to disown (disappoint?) me but he made it clear that if a great offer came, Newcastle would think about it.
"He didn't say anything like 'Liverpool is a big club, you have to go there'. He told me first of all that he wanted me to stay. Now I am here. Everyone wants to play and we have to train well. We must force (Klopp) to let us play. You have to show him you deserve it."
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