Barcelona reportedly agree €100 million deal to sign 26-year-old forward ‘in principle’
What’s the story?
Atletico Madrid lynchpin Antoine Griezmann has reportedly agreed a deal with Barcelona to join the Blaugrana at the end of the season, according to a report in French news outlet Le10Sports and in multiple Spanish news outlets. The La Liga leaders had were reported previously to have offered Sergi Roberto as part of a player plus cash deal, so as to avoid paying Griezmann’s €100 million release clause, with Diego Simeone keen on the midfielder. However, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde’s reluctance to let the versatile midfielder go means that Barca will pay the full amount, while also agreeing personal terms with the French superstar.
In case you didn’t know...
Antoine Griezmann joined Basque club Real Sociedad's youth system at the age of 14 in 2005, with the Frenchman impressing in a game against Paris St-Germain's youth team. He spent 4 years in the youth system, before making his first-team debut for his club in 2009, aged 18. Griezmann shone for 5 seasons at Sociedad, making 201 appearances for the club and scoring 52 goals. Thus, Atletico saw it fit to pay the Basque side a fee around Griezmann's release clause of €30 million to bring him to Madrid in 2014.
The heart of the matter
Griezmann was previously heavily linked to Manchester United in the summer, with the French superstar even going on to rate his chances of joining the Red Devils as ‘6 out of 10’ in a television interview. However, Atletico’s transfer ban meant that the 26-year-old forward decided to stay with the club. Diego Costa’s arrival has freed Griezmann to leave, but the forward would like to see out the season.
With only 3 goals from 13 appearances so far, the Frenchman has yet to hit the heights of seasons before, and this has cooled Manchester United’s interest, especially after signing Romelu Lukaku. Barcelona are now in pole position to sign Griezmann, with the €100 million they spend on the Frenchman likely to be offset by the sale of Luis Suarez.
Although the 26-year-old Frenchman has not reached the heights to which he is capable of this season, Griezmann remains one of the best forwards in the world. He is approaching his peak years, and his versatility will offer Ernesto Valverde plenty of options to play him alongside the likes of Leo Messi and Ousmane Dembele.