Barcelona: Pundit backs Antoine Griezmann to leave club
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Barcelona star Antoine Griezmann is willing to take a pay cut in order to join Atletico Madrid, reports say. However, a swap deal seems the only way for that to happen. And with Liverpool looking to sign Saul Niguez, a return to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium is currently in the balance.
Barcelona were convinced Griezmann would be a huge Nou Camp hit upon signing him from Atletico two years ago.
However, while the France international hasn’t been an overwhelming flop, he’s still failed to live up to expectations.
As a result, Barcelona are now open to letting him go this summer. And, in recent days, there’s been talk of a potential swap deal that would see Saul head in the other direction.
Mundo Deportivo say Griezmann is willing to lower his salary in order to return to his old club, the team he enjoyed the best years of his career with.
Yet a return is certainly not straightforward.
The way for that to happen would be if Saul went in the opposite direction, something Ronald Koeman is said to be open to happening.
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But Liverpool are looking to sign the La Liga star, too, with Jurgen Klopp’s side already having a bid in the region of £34m rejected so far.
Saul, for his part, would be happy to move to Barcelona.
But the biggest problem is the Barcelona board, who are terrified about a repeat of what happened with Luis Suarez 12 months ago.
The Catalan club allowed the Uruguay international to join their fierce rivals, only to watch on in horror as Suarez fired the club to La Liga glory.
And that’s why they’re currently mulling things over behind the scenes.
Atletico aren’t the only team being linked with Griezmann, with many of Europe’s top clubs also in the mix to secure his signature.
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Chelsea have been mentioned as potential suitors, with Thomas Tuchel determined to sign a new striker this summer.
The Blues are primed to offload both Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham, who are targets for AC Milan and West Ham respectively.
Chelsea’s preference would be to sign Erling Haaland but, with Borussia Dortmund adamant he won’t be allowed to leave the Westfalenstadion, could swoop for an alternative instead.
Manchester United are also in the hunt, having long admired Griezmann.
Jose Mourinho wanted to land the forward back in the summer transfer window of 2017, shortly after guiding the club to Europa League glory.
And with Griezmann on the market, it’s possible they’ll capitalise on the opportunity.
Then, there’s Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola is yet to sign a replacement for Sergio Aguero and, though Harry Kane is their main aim, the chance to recruit Griezmann could be too good to turn down.
Just last month, meanwhile, the 30-year-old admitted he’d love to play in the MLS one day.
“My contract with Barcelona is until June of 2024 and after that I think it will be the right time to go to the United States,” he said.
“I love the country, the culture, the NBA and the desire to discover new things draws me there.
“I’d love to finish my career there.”
In March, however, Griezmann insisted he would like to stay at Barcelona.
“I feel very good, with my teammates and the coach,” he said.
“I am here to help, be it 10 minutes or 90. I am at the service of the collective.
“It’s time to keep our heads up and feel confidence because of how we played. We need to keep improving. We are hacked off because we were desperate to go through.
“I don’t think we deserved to go out [of the Champions League] this early but next year we’ll try to win this competition.”
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