Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has reportedly reached a ‘verbal agreement’ with Barcelona, as the club prepare to continue a summer makeover by activating his €120m release clause.
Barça are long-term admirers of Griezmann and attempted to bring him to the Camp Nou last summer, only to be publicly rejected in a now infamous documentary entitled ‘La Decisión’.
However, ?Griezmann is said to now regret his decision to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano following a disappointing season with Atlético.
?Euro United report that Griezmann may have to take a pay cut to seal the move. Atlético tied their star player down to a five-year contract last summer, with the Frenchman earning a huge €20m per year. If the transfer goes ahead, Griezmann will earn €17m net from his basic wage in his first season with the Catalans, €18m in his second, and €19m in his third.
Griezmann has been Atlético’s star performer once again this season and is the club’s top scorer with 21 goals in all competitions. However, ?Atlético have endured a frustrating campaign, having failed to ever truly threaten Barça‘s position as league leaders and being knocked out the Copa del Rey by Girona.
Diego Simeone’s side also exited the Champions League in the last sixteen following a hugely disappointing 3-0 loss to Juventus, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, despite holding a 2-0 aggregate advantage from the first leg.
Barça’s move for Griezmann comes following the club’s own Champions League humbling, having surrendered a 3-0 first leg lead to lose 4-0 against Liverpool at Anfield in the semi-final. The club are now expected to undertake a ?squad overhaul this summer, with the future of manager Ernesto Valverde and several big-name players uncertain.
Barcelona have already completed the signing of Ajax wonderkid Frenkie de Jong in a transfer that could cost up to €86m. The Catalans have also been strongly linked with de Jong’s Ajax teammate and captain Matthijs de Ligt. The club are said to view the two young Dutch talents as the ideal successors to ageing stars Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique.
Griezmann, meanwhile, would provide a long term replacement for Luis Suárez. The Uruguayan has scored 21 La Liga goals this season but turns 33 at the start of next year. However, while Suárez is fit and firing, there’s every chance we could see Griezmann partner him and ?Lionel Messi in a three-pronged attack.
Ivan Rakiti? and Phillip Coutinho are among the stars who could be sold to finance Barça‘s summer business and make room for new signings. Coutinho has failed to impress in Spain following his record £142m transfer and has been criticised heavily by fans.
The Brazilian is said to earn around €13.5m a year, so the club may need to move him on to free up space on the wage bill.