Barcelona’s efforts to maneuver on from Griezmann present how dire their funds are

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“Something can occur in soccer,” stated the Atletico Madrid president, Enrique Cerezo. Even Barcelona following up their determination to let a striker go to Atletico Madrid without spending a dime, pay a bit of his wage and assist them win the league by… effectively, letting a striker go to Atletico Madrid without spending a dime, paying a bit of his wage and serving to them win the league.

OK, so Atletico might not win the league subsequent season, they usually might not even get the deal executed — actually, it seems to be fairly troublesome proper now — however FC Barcelona actually are speaking to them this summer time about permitting Antoine Griezmann to return to the Wanda Metropolitano and for nothing. And doing this two years after paying €125m for him, which in flip was a 12 months after he had very publicly turned them down.

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Not simply permitting him to return, actually: obliging him to.

On Monday afternoon, Barcelona opened discussions about doing a swap deal for midfielder Saul Niguez — though formally they might find yourself being two separate offers. It might not occur. Barcelona don’t wish to cowl any of Griezmann’s wage, understood to be within the area of €20m. Atletico don’t want the deal to price them, and have intimated that they don’t seem to be so bothered: they may stroll away any time, leaving him and them caught.

Which can be a tactic, in fact. It in all probability is. However that it has come to this.

That Barcelona have develop into so determined, in such dire monetary circumstances, that they are making an attempt to pressure Griezmann to the door, conscious now that it is nearly unimaginable for them to maintain him and Lionel Messi.

That after all the pieces Griezmann has executed, all the pieces he has been and nonetheless might be, there’s not a queue of golf equipment constructing outdoors, all determined to get him, big wads of money waving at Barcelona.

That Atletico stand alone, able to twist Barcelona’s arm or stroll away.

And that Griezmann would return, fortunately. Like others earlier than him, by the way. It is humorous the way it goes.

Nicely, kind of fortunately. And it isn’t like the selection can be his alone. It isn’t that Griezmann needs to go away Barcelona for Atletico, both; it’s that if he has to go away Barcelona, Atletico is a beautiful various. It is a membership he is aware of and a supervisor (Diego Simeone) who backs him; even Profe Ortega, the health coach who likes to see the sweat and vomit circulate freely from his gamers, does not scare him. Actually, the way in which issues have been the final couple of years, he may effectively welcome that work.

However Griezmann didn’t search this answer, Barcelona did. If it truly is an answer.

For all of the doubts round Griezmann over the previous couple of years at Camp Nou — that lingering feeling that he by no means fairly match, that this was by no means fairly his place, that in reality he in all probability should not have come within the first place and that he price an excessive amount of — the explanations that Barcelona are so eager to maneuver him on are usually not a lot footballing as monetary.

Proper now, they cannot afford to pay their gamers: financial savings must be made, gross sales secured. Griezmann might not be the very best earner on the membership and even within the prime three, however his departure would clear round €20m off their wage invoice. Simply as importantly, there are nonetheless nearly €80m nonetheless to be amortized on his contract. His departure would assist them ease that monetary stress and at a time that — and as an instance this once more — they can’t afford to pay their gamers and the league will not even let them sign them up.

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Gab and Juls focus on the potential for a swap deal between Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez.

Caught with a squad excessive on salaries and low on the will to depart, Griezmann is among the few gamers they will transfer. And but even he does not have his choose of golf equipment, even at a time when it seems to be very very like he would flip up without spending a dime. Is there severely no-one else on the market that sees what a cut price this might be?

It is curious. When he joined Barcelona two years in the past, there might have been only one attacking participant on this planet that did what he did. There was a motive that his switch payment was €125m, a motive why Barcelona have been ready to return to him even after he had rejected them the 12 months earlier than — reside on tv. Drawback was, that one participant was about to be on the identical staff as him.

Griezmann — and it is price saying this, too — has not been a failure at Barcelona. He has largely performed fairly effectively and he has scored some important objectives — a big variety of objectives too (35 in 99 video games). Ask folks on the membership privately, and largely they communicate effectively of him. And but it isn’t fairly sufficient; expectations for his arrival have been far greater than that, and one thing was not fairly proper. Add to {that a} monetary disaster and structural dysfunction, and now there are doubts. A state of affairs too wherein Griezmann isn’t answerable for his personal future.

He is aware of now that Barcelona try to push him out, that they’ve begun a course of that they hope can safe their short-term future. As a result of, make no mistake, that is what’s in play right here. It’s one wherein he, and Atletico, hope they are able to safe their previous, and their future too — conscious that whereas Barcelona are pushing for his departure, determined to get rid, theirs is the higher hand, and time is on their aspect now. It is no assure that this can occur: it’s a advanced deal, settlement simply out of attain nonetheless.

However there is a chance, too.

Huge cash does not at all times imply success; Barcelona know this higher than most. Philippe Coutinho was, it was stated, however he received the Champions League with Bayern Munich. Luis Suarez was completed, however he received the league. “Insanity,” Messi known as it. Now Griezmann might be on his means again once more. Not everybody will welcome him, not after all the pieces that occurred, however at Atletico, they know he can play. They noticed it then and now… effectively, now, something can occur in soccer.