A year after deciding to stay with Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann has reportedly set his heart on a transfer to Barcelona this summer.
Barcelona’s humiliating exit from the Champions League at the hands of Liverpool will trigger a chain of events that could see some of their critical stars depart the club in the summer, while new recruits are targeted. One of those targets is Antoine Griezmann, and according to Le Parisien, the Atletico Madrid forward would want to make a move this time around.
Atletico and Barcelona were both victims of comeback wins in the UEFA Champions League this season, with Juventus and Liverpool, respectively, sending them packing. The most affected from such a manner of exit are Barcelona, who will look to revamp their squad, while the future of Ernesto Valverde is in doubt.
Barcelona are actively looking to offload Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti among other fringe stars in the summer window. Umtiti is linked with a move to the Premier League, while Coutinho, who has been booed continuously by the Camp Nou faithful of late might find interest coming from Manchester United, who were recently quoted a €100 million price for the Brazilian.
Barcelona have already identified a long-term midfield solution in Frenkie de Jong after agreeing an €80 million move for the Ajax star in January, while Umtiti might be replaced by de Jong’s Ajax teammate, Matthijs de Ligt. However, the big task is to replace Coutinho, who was signed from Liverpool for a significant fee last year.
Barcelona’s primary target is still Antoine Griezmann, and the La Liga Champions are believed to be on the verge of making headway in the Frenchman’s pursuit. A year ago, Griezmann refused a transfer to Barcelona and decided to stay with Atletico Madrid, revealing the decision via a documentary. But, things are different now, and the Frenchman is considering his options.
The report suggests Griezmann feels he has more of a chance of winning trophies with Barcelona than at Atletico, who have struggled in recent seasons to remain competitive. Les Parisien also claim that the French forward is ready to take a pay cut from his current salary to make a move to Camp Nou.
Griezmann’s current buyout clause stands at €120 million, which expires on June 30, meaning Barcelona need to make their move as soon as the window re-opens. Additionally, it is reported that the Catalans’ entourage, led by former star Eric Abidal has made headway in talks with Griezmann’s camp and believe a transfer could materialise.
Griezmann reportedly nets around €23 million at Atletico Madrid signing a new deal, but Barcelona cannot afford that kind of salary for the player. The report suggests that the Frenchman could take a pay cut to join the club, where he is primarily expected to replace Coutinho and not threaten Luis Suarez’s place.
Will Barcelona succeed this time in luring Griezmann to Camp Nou, or will a late twist see the French star stay put at Atletico Madrid yet again? Either way, Antoine Griezmann would be an ideal candidate to form a part of Barcelona’s attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, although it remains to be seen if he will really take a pay cut to seal the move.