Antoine Griezmann’s return to Atletico Madrid after two seasons seems to have been suspended, as negotiations between Barcelona and Atleti broke down due to a swap deal.
The 30-year-old Griezmann has actually been put up for sale by Barcelona, as the Catalan club looks set to tackle a financial crisis by downloading several big winners.
All but a few key players at Camp Nou are available at the right price this summer, as Joan Laporta and the Barça board’s priority remains the rewriting and re-registration of Lionel Messi in a way that does not break the bank or La Liga’s strict financial control over salary budgets.
Griezmann will not return to Atletico this summer, it seems / Franck Fife – Pool / Getty Images
In recent days, Griezmann had been earmarked to return to Atleti, where he spent five seasons and scored 133 goals before joining Barcelona in somewhat difficult circumstances in 2019.
Talk suggested that he return to Diego Simeone’s side in a swap deal that would see Liverpool and Manchester United-linked midfielder Saul Ñiguez go in the other direction.
Reports claim that the French World Cup winner had already spoken to Simeone about the prospects for the transfer and had his heart on the road.
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo even eerily said “anything is possible” when asked directly about the return of his lost son Griezmann.
But SPORT now reports that the deal is closed, with Barça not wanting to let Griezmann go cheap – after being snapped up by Luis Suarez’s move to the Spanish capital last summer.
SPORT suggests that Atleti could not and do not want to stubble up 20 million euros in addition to playing a player for Griezmann.
It is also added that Barça preferred an exchange with forward Joao Felix rather than Saul.
Barcelona wanted to swap with Joao Felix and Griezmann / Thanassis Stavrakis – Pool / Getty Images
Now that the deal is dead, Griezmann – one of Barça’s biggest earners after Messi and with a contract that runs until 2024 – is now a “problem” for the club.
SPORT’s report adds, however, that Barça is hopeful that a Premier League club will ride in and save the day.
The play names Manchester United and Chelsea as possible suitors, while Juventus is seen as another possibility. Whether there is something actually intel that the trio of the trio is interested in or it’s just pure speculation remains to be seen.
Manchester City apparently ruled out a bid for Griezmann last week, while valuable few other clubs around the world could finance a deal for the Frenchman.