Everybody is preparing for the departure of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid. It’s quite clear that Manchester United approached the player last summer. He spoke to Jose Mourinho but decided to stay put, despite there being a big offer on the table. He stayed because of the transfer circumstances at Atletico – but nobody expects him to do the same next summer.
As I’ve been saying all along, though, United are not the only team interested in Griezmann. Barcelona are willing to match his €100m buy-out clause and the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has met Griezmann’s family for lunch, that’s because he doesn’t have an agent and his sister looks after his affairs. But it wasn’t only his sister that was there, perhaps tellingly, his parents were in attendance too.
Griezmann will leave next summer for either United or Barca, but the Catalans are favourites at this moment in time.
There is talk of Barcelona bringing in both Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, but there are few problems with these reports. Firstly, Barca’s wage structure accounts for over 80 per cent of the club’s income. The wages are so high and they desperately need more income and that is what they are trying to work on. Until that’s secured, I don’t think they can afford both Griezmann and Coutinho.
As it stands, Liverpool have not put a price on Coutinho, regardless of what the Catalan press are saying. With the sources behind those stories coming from within the club, it sounds like Barcelona are looking for a reason to say Coutinho was too expensive and that they couldn’t afford him.