Georginio Wijnaldum’s verdict on Mauricio Pochettino has come to light after he visited his house for transfer talks.
It comes after an astonishing turn of events where Paris Saint-Germain appear to have hijacked Barcelona’s deal.
The midfielder will leave Liverpool this summer when his contract expires, calling time on his five-year career at Anfield.
During his time on Merseyside, he became a key player under Jurgen Klopp – winning the Champions League and Premier League.
The German coach was desperate to keep hold of the Netherlands international but he has been keen to take on a new challenge – with Barcelona believed to be his destination.
Ronald Koeman knows Wijnaldum well having coached him at international level and tried to sign him last summer.
All that needed to be completed was his medical and the ex-Newcastle star would be a Barca player after agreeing personal terms.
But PSG have swooped in at the last minute with a contract worth double what Barcelona are prepared to pay – as club chiefs in Catalunya continued to stall on a prospective deal.
And it now looks more likely that the 30-year-old will move to the Parc des Princes instead.
Wijnaldum has met Pochettino before, when the Argentine was in charge at Tottenham and the midfielder was at Newcastle.
On that occasion, the Dutchman was weighing up options from Spurs and Liverpool before joining the latter – but Poch left a lasting impression.
“I went to Mauricio Pochettino’s house before I spoke to Liverpool,” Wijnaldum told Dutch magazine VI in 2016.
“After the meeting I told my agent ‘I’m going to join Spurs’. Pochettino is a terrific manager, if you look at the way his teams play. I was impressed with what he had to say.”
“He set out his way of working and I was convinced he could improve any player no matter what age they are.
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“His method gives players such specific duties they become better as a result.
“I saw Spurs as being a very good fit for me – but we were unable to agree financial terms with them.
“With hindsight, though, that was not a disaster. Pochettino was terrific but then Jurgen Klopp made me feel even more relaxed.”
Despite now looking likely to miss out Wijnaldum, Barcelona have several deals already in the pipeline.
Compatriot Memphis Depay still looks set to join the Nou Camp outfit on a free from Lyon while Sergio Aguero has already signed from Manchester City with his contract up.