French World Cup winner and Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann has caused a civil war in Barcelona camp as the club directors are at loggerheads over his contract situation. The French star embarrased the Catalonian giants during the summer transfer window by rejecting them publicly but has now been issuing a “come and get me” plea to the Spanish Champions.
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is reported to be involved in a heated debate with the club’s management structure over whether or not to move for Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann this summer, sources have told ESPN FC.
These sources revealed earlier in March that Griezmann has offered himself to Barca and a number of Europe’s other big clubs, including Clasico rivals; Real Madrid. The former Sociedad man has grown frustrated at Atletico where trophies and titles have not been forthcoming.
The Madrid side won the Europa League last season and they beat Real Madrid to the UEFA Super Cup earlier this season.
However, they have been knocked out of the Copa del Rey and the Champions League after gaining a two-goal lead over Juventus and are now 10 points behind La Liga leaders Barca.
While Barca’s management structure, which includes Pep Segura, Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes, insist that Griezmann is not a priority for next season, other sources say that Bartomeu is keen on doing a deal.
“It’s something which has passed the majority of the people at the club by — the Griezmann issue is something being directly dealt with by the president,” sources claim.
Barcelona have already agreed a deal to sign Frenkie de Jong from Ajax Amsterdam to strengthen their now aging midfield and are working hard to sign his teammate Matthijs de Ligt to improve their defence. The club are also looking for a left-back to provide competition for Jordi Alba and a long-term replacement for striker Luis Suarez.
Those generally in charge of all transfers at Camp Nou insist that Griezmann does not fit the profile of forward they are targeting, with Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford two of the players being extensively watched.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Griezmann would be willing to take a significant pay cut to push through a move to Camp Nou. Any gesture from the World Cup winner would help improve the problems Barca have fitting him into their spiralling wage bill, but the deal remains complicated on a financial level.
The club would have to sell at least two big players to be able to pay his €120 million release clause. “Right now, Barcelona don’t have €120m to deposit the clause with La Liga,” a source at the club confirmed. Some of the players that may be sold to fund the move for Griezmann include Samuel Umtiti, Phillipe Coutinho, and Luis Suarez