Barcelona have opened negotiations with Atletico Madrid over a swap deal involving Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann, various sources have confirmed to ESPN.
Barca failed with an offer to take Felix on loan on Monday, with Atletico knocking them back immediately, but returned on Tuesday with a new proposal involving Griezmann.
Felix’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is working as an intermediary on the operation, while sources close to Griezmann say a deal is not “impossible.”
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However, sources involved in the negotiations acknowledge it will be difficult to sort out so close to Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Barca and Atletico held talks earlier in the summer over a potential swap deal involving Griezmann and midfielder Saul Niguez. Those talks broke down due to the difference in valuations of the two players. At the time, Griezmann was open to returning to Atletico, who he left for Barcelona in 2019 for a fee of around €120 million.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone is also keen to work with the Griezmann again. The French forward, 30, spent five years playing under Simeone before moving to Camp Nou, scoring 133 goals in 257 appearances.
Felix, 21, joined Atletico as Griezmann’s replacement two years ago, signing for €126m from Portuguese side Benfica. In two seasons at the Wanda Metropolitano he has scored 19 goals in 76 games.
Barca’s activity in the transfer window this summer has been limited due to their financial problems. President Joan Laporta revealed recently that their gross debt stands at €1.35 billion. Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia have all arrived on free transfers, while €9m signing Emerson Royal is set to join Tottenham on Tuesday in a deal worth a potential €30m.
Young midfielder Ilaix Moriba is also set to join German side RB Leipzig before the transfer window closes for around €20m.
Lionel Messi, Junior Firpo, Francisco Trincao and Konrad de la Fuente are some of the other players who have left this summer, freeing up some space on the wage bill with coach Ronald Koeman asking for another forward.
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