Antoine Griezmann‘s name tops Barcelona’s list of attacking transfers in the summer but the club are keen not to create a saga in order to avoid issues with Atletico Madrid, sources have told ESPN FC.
Griezmann is part of a list of summer transfer targets which include Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette, Everton’s Richarlison and another unnamed forward. However, the La Liga champions won’t make any move for Griezmann until July 1 when his buy-out clause reduces from €200 million to €120m.
The club’s board will meet after the Copa del Rey final against Valencia where they will discuss the summer plans — including the future of manager Ernesto Valverde in the wake of the disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Liverpool.
Eintracht Frankfurt forward Luka Jovic and Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez were on the original list, but the general feeling is to make every effort to land Griezmann as they would like a superstar name to complement Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi rather than a back up for the Uruguay international.
A source at the club has also told ESPN FC they feel Griezmann would fit well into Barca’s style of play due to his versatility.
Barca were interested in the France international last season and came close to completing the signing, before he opted to stay at Atletico — revealing his choice in a documentary entitled ‘The Decision.’
But Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu told ESPN FC the episode is now “water under the bridge.”
ESPN FC reported in March that Griezmann has offered himself to Barcelona and had regretted not making the move in the summer .
After deciding to stay at Atletico, Griezmann signed a new contract worth €24m-a-year — which Barca would struggle to match — but his €120m clause would be considered good value.
Barca have learned from their mistakes of the same pursuit last summer and have remained silent on his occasion.
Griezmann’s sister and agent recently described the rumours of a move to Barcelona as “unfounded” but a source has told ESPN FC he is still interested in a move to Camp Nou. The same source has also suggested Diego Godin‘s departure could increase the likelihood of Griezmann leaving this summer.
Atletico president Enzo Cerezo, however, has said Griezmann is “1,000 percent” staying at the Wanda Metropolitano — but added that, if his buy-out clause is met, the decision is out of their hands.