Former Paris Saint-Germain winger Jerome Rothen believes Barcelona have already agreed a deal to sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.
Speculation linking Griezmann to the Catalan club has been rife since Atleti suffered elimination from the Champions League earlier this month.
Could Barca sign Griezmann? Five key things to know…
- Barca were heavily linked with a move for Griezmann last season.
- The Frenchman rejected a transfer last June and instead agreed fresh terms with Atleti.
- He released a video announcing his decision to stay and wrote on social media: “My fans, my team, MY HOME!!!”
- However, eight months on and interest from the Camp Nou has resurfaced.
- Barca are in pursuit of a striker this summer following the sale of Munir in January.
Diego Simeone’s side threw away a two-goal advantage against Juventus in the last-16, losing 3-0 in the second leg courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.
As such, Griezmann is reportedly unsettled in the Spanish capital, now regretting his decision to turn down a move to the Camp Nou last season and pen a new contract at the Wanda Metropolitano until 2023.
However, the Frenchman decided to incorporate a £100m release clause in the deal and Rothen – who made 180 appearances for PSG between 2004 and 2009 – believes Barca have now activated it.
“I can tell from a reliable source, Antoine Griezmann will go to FC Barcelona next summer.” Rothen explained in an RMC Sport programme about the future of the French striker, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.
Ernesto Valverde has made no secret of his desire to sign a centre-forward this summer following the sale of Munir to Sevilla in January.
As things stand the Spanish tactician has just one senior No.9 on his books, though he did acquire the services of versatile forward Kevin-Prince Boateng as emergency cover.
It is unlikely the Spanish giants will make his loan move a permanent one this summer, which could open the door for the potential transfer of Griezmann.
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Did Hernandez sale trigger Griezmann’s decision?
Should Rothen’s assertion about the Griezmann deal come to fruition then Atletico Madrid would be on the brink of collapse having recently lost utility defender Lucas Hernandez to Bayern Munich.
The Frenchman starred alongside Griezmann in Les Bleus’ triumphant World Cup victory last summer, and so, Griezmann’s emotional farewell message on his Instagram account could very well suggest a motive for his supposed departure.
He wrote: “Sad to see you leave my friend. I wish you the best in your new club. Recover your knee well my friend. Force #Hermanito”
Additionally, Filipe Luis and captain Diego Godin could part from Atleti at the end of the season with both players at the age of 33, leaving Simeone in a world of trouble if that also transpires.