Having failed to sign Liverpool’s dazzling number ten, Phillipe Coutinho, in the summer, Barcelona have now made Atletico Madrid’s star man Antoine Griezmann their top transfer target.
Despite initials reports suggesting that Barca would return for the Brazilian Coutinho in the January transfer window, this is now looking increasingly unlikely and interest appears to have cooled. Efforts have instead been focused closer to home, with the France international Antoine Griezmann thought to be the ideal candidate to link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in what would be a star-studded Barcelona front three.
Interest has been ramped up due to an apparent willingness to move from the player’s side despite Griezmann having opted to stay with the ‘rojiblancos’ in the summer, stating at the time that it would be “dirty” to move whilst Atleti were under a transfer embargo and unable to replace him.
Things change in football at an incredible pace however and with Atleti having had a less-than-stellar start to the season, it is thought that Griezmann is ready for a new challenge. With the return of fan’s favourite Diego Costa in January combined with Griezmann’s average form of recent matches, it is thought that there is some willingness from Atleti to part with the ex-Real Sociedad man, should Barca be willing to stump up his 100 million euro release clause.
The news comes as a blow to Manchester United fans, as the Premier League giants were previously odds-on favourites to sign the 26-year old. Having spent his entire career to date in La Liga, it is thought that Griezmann would prefer to stay in the league and continue to progress as a player, playing alongside one of his idols in Lionel Messi.
Atletico and Barcelona are both in action on Saturday, with Atleti facing Villareal at 5:30PM (BST) and Barca travelling to face Athletic in the 7:45PM (BST) game.