Atletico Madrid ‘REJECTED direct swap deal involving Joao Felix to bring Antoine Griezmann back to the club from Barcelona with Saul Niguez exchange also unlikely’… as cash-strapped Catalan giants remain desperate to offload Frenchman
- Antoine Griezmann is currently Barcelona’s highest earner on £294,000 a week
- The club need to reduce wage bill to register new stars and re-sign Lionel Messi
- Reports have already suggested a swap deal between Griezmann and Saul
- But MARCA claim the Catalan giants first wanted Portuguese star Joao Felix
Reports last week suggested Barcelona are ready to sell France star Griezmann, who is the club’s current highest earner on £294,000 a week with free agent Lionel Messi yet to re-sign.
That was due to the fact the Catalan giants are unable to register any of their new signings because they have exceeded LaLiga’s strict salary limit by 40 per cent.
Atletico Madrid turned down a direct swap deal involving Joao Felix (right) and Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann (left), according to reports
Felix is said to have a tense relationship with Diego Simeone (right) but Atleti will not sell
Then reports from Spain earlier this week claimed Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are open to a sensation swap between the 30-year-old and midfielder Saul Niguez.
But MARCA claim that the Catalan outfit first approached LaLiga champions Atletico with a proposal involving a direct exchange between Griezmann and Joao Felix, who started just 14 of his 31 Spanish league appearances in 2020-21.
The Portugal international’s lack of regular starting XI berths has reportedly led to a fractious relationship with boss Diego Simeone, but the same outlet claims Atletico are not willing to let him go despite that tense relationship between the duo.
The report then claims Saul’s name was placed on the negotiating table, but add that while he is the profile of player Barcelona are looking to add to their midfield after losing out to PSG for Georginio Wijnaldum, that move is not expected to happen either.
MARCA claim Saul Niguez was also put on the negotiating table but is unlikely to join Barca
Saul dropped down the pecking order last term and Atleti have now signed Rodrigo De Paul
Saul has also been linked with a move to Liverpool having dropped down the pecking order under Simeone last season, and Atleti have already recruited on the midfield front this summer with the arrival of the exciting Rodrigo De Paul.
He currently finds himself behind the likes of Koke, Thomas Lemar and Marcos Llorente, while Atletico also have Hector Herrera and Geoffrey Kondogbia among their ranks.
MARCA also claim Barcelona have offered World Cup winner Griezmann to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, but add the Premier League champions are focused on other targets, believed to be England stars Harry Kane and Jack Grealish.
Griezmann signed for Barcelona from Atletico Madrid for £107m in 2019 after a long transfer saga.
The report adds Griezmann has also been offered to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City
But Barcelona – who are more than £1billion in debt due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic – are now looking to sell some of their top earners, with Griezmann and Brazil star Philippe Coutinho prime among them.
Their need to offload is urgent as new arrivals such as Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia cannot be officially registered with the league until their wage bill is reduced.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta is also having to get creative with incomings this summer, mainly with free transfers, all while moving on high earners and those out of favour.
But he is aware of the need to clear salary space to re-register Argentine star Messi, but has revealed those talks are ‘progressing adequately well’ for the Copa America winner.
Barcelona need to reduce their wage bill to register new signings and re-sign Lionel Messi
Atletico Madrid ‘REJECTED direct swap deal with Joao Felix to bring Antoine Griezmann back’