Reports: Barcelona to beat Manchester United to £88m striker in clever swap deal
Barcelona are willing to let go of a crucial midfielder
What's the story?
Manchester United are all set to lose out on Antoine Griezmann, with the Atletico Madrid star likely to leave for FC Barcelona as the La Liga giants are proposing a player+cash deal, according to multiple reports in Spain. Rojiblancos boss Diego Simeone has long admired Sergi Roberto of Barcelona and has already made his peace with Griezmann's departure after Diego Costa's arrival. Barcelona are willing to offer €100 million and Sergi Roberto as well, so as to top Manchester United's offer that came in during the summer.
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
Barcelona are in the market for a forward, especially given Luis Suarez' troubles up top as he ages. The Blaugrana are still in the market for attacking reinforcements, with Ernesto Valverde identifying Antoine Griezmann as his ideal target.
The Frenchman was on his way out of Atletico Madrid in the summer, rating his chances of a move to Manchester United as '6 out of 10' in an interview that set tongues wagging. However, the Rojiblancos were hit with a transfer ban by FIFA, leading to their French superstar deciding to stay.
However, since Diego Costa has arrived from Chelsea and will be eligible from January, Griezmann's departure would not be as much of a disaster for Atletico as it would normally be. With Barcelona willing to offer the versatile Sergi Roberto in return, Diego Simeone might be satisfied with the Blaugrana's offer.
Antoine Griezmann's star has fallen quite a bit this season, as the Frenchman has struggled to score, with only 2 goals from 9 games in La Liga so far. However, he is precisely the sort of star player Barcelona need, especially after Neymar's departure in the summer.