Antoine Griezmann set to leave Barcelona in swap deal for Atletico Madrid star

Antoine Griezmann is on the verge of returning to Atletico Madrid with midfielder Saul Niguez heading in the opposite direction to Barcelona, according to reports in Spain.

Griezmann joined Barcelona in 2019 after the club paid his €120 million (£107m) buyout clause in his contract with Atletico.

But the France international has struggled to make an impact during his time at Camp Nou and has only helped Barca win the Copa del Rey during his two seasons at the club.

According to Spanish radio station Cope, both Griezmann and Saul have now approved their moves and the two clubs are closing in on an agreement.

The report claims that Barcelona would see around €12m (£10.2m) per season reduced from their wage bill once Griezmann leaves and Saul arrives.

Griezmann is currently on holiday with his former Atletico teammate Koke after being part of France’s Euro 2020 campaign.

Barcelona have been unable to register new signings this summer and revealed debts earlier this year of €1.2 billion (£1.1bn).

Last month, La Liga president Javier Tebas warned Barcelona that they must drastically reduce their wage bill in order to sign Messi to a new contract.

According to widespread reports in Spain on Wednesday, Messi has agreed to a new five-year deal with Barca with a significant pay cut.

With his previous contract which expired earlier this summer, Messi was earning €72m (£61.2m) per season, plus an additional €75m (£63.8m) across four years in bonuses.

Messi was also paid a €115m (£97.9m) renewal bonus and a €77m (£65.5m) loyalty bonus.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are also actively looking to offload both Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic in order to reduce their wage bill.

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