Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has once again spoken of his admiration for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum amid interest from the Catalan giants.
Koeman, who worked with Wijnaldum during his time in charge of Netherlands, has made no secret of his desire to be reunited with the 29-year-old at Camp Nou.
Wijnaldum is currently due to be out of contract at the end of this season, eliminating the financial reasons behind Barcelona's failed pursuit this summer.
However, Koeman has insisted that the club's attempts to sign the Dutchman were not impacted by Lionel Messi's reluctant U-turn to stay at Barca.
"In my mind, I always assumed that [Messi] would stay. If Messi had left, it would've opened up a completely different situation," Koeman told Dutch outlet Algemeen Dagblad.
"Our interest in Wijnaldum, in any case, was separate from [Messi]. In general, I think our squad could've done with a bit more depth, especially without the ball.
"Gini has great spatial awareness. He can get into the box fantastically well from the middle of the park. He really could've brought something to the team.
"But the club knew the economic situation. [Wijnaldum]'s position was less of a priority in the end than, for example, a right-back or centre-forward."
Wijnaldum has not yet ruled out extending his five-year stay at Anfield, during which time he has helped the club to Champions League and Premier League glory.