A swap deal seeing FC Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann and Atletico Madrid’s Saul Niguez exchange clubs is still on, according to reports.
Mundo Deportivo claim that Atleti are still interested in seeing Griezmann, a $141mn purchase for the Catalans in 2019, return to the Wanda.
Unlike last season, they know that with the arrival of one of Ronald Koeman’s favorites Memphis Depay, and Lionel Messi’s best friend Sergio Aguero, the Frenchman is no longer a guaranteed starter at the Camp Nou, and may wish to return to play under his old coach Diego Simeone and alongside his former teammates with whom he won the Europa League and reached the final of the Champions League in 2016.
Furthermore, relocating back to Madrid would suit the player’s family far better than moving to Serie A or the Premier League, with Manchester City coming out yesterday to pour cold water on rumors they were preparing an approach for the forward.
Contrary to many other parties, Barca do not view Grizi as a “flop”, and value his contribution across two seasons. But the club’s financial predicament and the ongoing saga to finalize Lionel Messi’s contract mean they could do with their second highest earner off the payroll.
Similar to Griezmann, Saul wishes to stay in Spain too. Though both players being open to the move facilitates matters, Barca wish to receive some cash and perhaps another Atleti star for the World Cup winner.
Yet the Blaugrana know in the Spanish international that they would receive, at 26, a young multifunctional talent capable of playing in many positions, and MD expect that it is only a matter of time until the bartering begins.