Stay or go: Barcelona striker on loan has three options for his future
Barcelona loaned Antoine Griezmann to Atletico Madrid on the last day of the 2021 summer transfer window in a bid to reduce his wage bill. The Frenchman was the club’s highest-paid player after Lionel Messi left, and when Atleti came calling, Joan Laporta took his chance and let him go.
Griezmann hasn’t, contrary to popular expectations, had a strong impact on the team. He only scored three league goals while scoring another. The situation is slightly better in the Champions League, where he has scored four goals and provided one assist.
According to Fichajes, Barcelona have three options on the table when it comes to Griezmann’s future. The most obvious is to let him stay at Atletico and collect the €40m they will have to shell out for him.
This deal could also involve Saul coming to Barcelona in an attempt by Diego Simeone’s side to lower Griezmann’s price tag.
The second option is for the World Cup winner to return to Barcelona. He picked up form in the latter stages of the season, playing in a 3-5-2 with Messi, but failed to carry his numbers into the new season.
He could, however, be useful to Xavi. The Spaniard prefers a very pressing and very defensive work-rate system, and Griezmann could easily fit the bill.
Finally, if Atletico can’t pay the €40m for Griezmann, Barcelona could sell him to the Premier League. The striker has attracted interest from Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and even Manchester City in the past and could fetch a price north of €40-45m.
After a title win, Atletico faced several hurdles during this season, with players like Luis Suarez, Jan Oblak, Jose Gimenez underperforming.
As they sit in fifth place, their Champions League qualification is in real danger. Failure to qualify for the competition would result in heavy financial loss. In that case, it would be next to impossible for them to shell out €40m on just one player.