Barcelona are reportedly tracking Antoine Griezmann, and are prepared to shell out €100 million to sign him next summer.
According to a report by Spanish publication Sport, Barcelona have set their sights on Antoine Griezmann for a move next summer. The Blaugrana are ready to meet his €100 million release clause to poach the French forward away from Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann has long been regarded as one of the best players in world football, having been a prolific contributor for Atletico Madrid over the last three years. The player boasts an impressive record of 86 goals and 28 assists in 173 appearances for Los Rojiblancos.
His exploits for the La Liga heavyweights have made him one of the most highly sought-after players in the transfer market, and the Frenchman was involved in a long drawn out saga involving Manchester United this past summer, before he pledged his short-term future to Atletico Madrid as their transfer ban was upheld.
Griezmann also penned a new long-term contract with Los Rojiblancos that raised his buyout clause to €200 million for the summer transfer window. Eventually, the 26-year-old ended up remaining in the Spanish capital, but has started the 2017-18 season slowly, having found the back of the net just thrice in 13 outings thus far.
7 – Griezmann is seven games in a row without scoring, his worst streak as an Atletico Madrid player. Drought. pic.twitter.com/YBJZCwE44H
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 4, 2017
The report suggests that Griezmann is unsettled at Atletico Madrid, and could be open to a move away from Wanda Metropolitano. Should he decide to end his stint at the club next summer, it could well be to La Liga rivals Barcelona, who have been tracking him for a long time.
In fact, the Catalan club were even interested in signing him in the summer to replace Neymar before a move failed to materialise. The renewed interest in the France international does not come as a surprise, with Luis Suarez enduring a major slump in form.
To add to Ernesto Valverde’s troubles, summer signing Ousmane Dembele became a long-term absentee not long after joining the club, while the likes of Paco Alcacer, Gerard Deulofeu and Aleix Vidal have not managed to remain consistent enough to secure a regular slot in the first-team setup.
As a result, Lionel Messi has had to shoulder the bulk of the goalscoring burden for the Blaugrana, and the addition of Griezmann could potentially ease some of the pressure on him.
Having proven himself to be adept at playing centrally as well as out wide, the Frenchman could fill in in various roles and become an asset for the La Liga leaders. Barcelona are prepared to fork out his €100 million release clause to sign him next summer as well.
It now remains to be seen if Barcelona indeed land Griezmann, or face competition in his pursuit from some other club, perhaps Manchester United, if they decide to reignite their interest in him.