New Liverpool signing reveals Rafael Benitez’s role in Anfield move

Georginio Wijnaldum lifts the lid on his conversation with Rafael Benitez ahead of Liverpool transfer

Georginio Wijnaldum has revealed Rafael Benitez’s role in the midfielder’s big-money move to Liverpool last week.

The Netherlands international completed a £25m move to the Merseyside outfit on Friday afternoon as Wijnaldum became the seventh signing of the summer transfer window for the 18-time English champions.

Wijnaldum scored 11 times in 38 Premier League appearances for Newcastle in his first season in the English top flight but couldn’t help the Magpies avoid relegation to the Championship.

Benitez managed Liverpool between 2004 and 2010 before the Spaniard took over the reins from Steve McClaren at St James’s Park earlier this year after their dismal run of Premier League form.

And Wijnaldum revealed that Benitez talked up his former employers Liverpool after the Reds showed their interest in the Dutch playmaker, although the Newcastle manager wanted the Eredivisie winner to stay at St James’s Park.

“Rafa just said that Liverpool is a big club,” Wijnaldum is quoted as saying by Daily Express.

“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.

“He didn’t say: ‘You need to go to Liverpool’ because he wanted me to stay at Newcastle.”

Wijnaldum jetted out to California to link up with Jurgen Klopp’s squad ahead of the new Premier League campaign.

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Liverpool will face Chelsea in a pre-season friendly in Pasadena on Thursday night.

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