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Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann is reportedly at the top of Barcelona’s transfer agenda for next summer.
According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Annie Eaves of Sport Witness), while Manchester United are long-term admirers of the France forward, Barcelona are hopeful of moving quickly to get a deal done after the 2017-18 season.
Indeed, the Blaugrana are reportedly ready to wrap up a deal before the 2018 FIFA World Cup and believe Griezmann being settled in Spain will sway the player towards the Camp Nou instead of Old Trafford.
Here’s a look at the story, per Sport Witness:
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
FIGHT: Griezmann signing on Man United ‘agenda’ but Barca now ready to battle Mourinho. https://t.co/TnCMxZHnUz #MUFC #FCBlive https://t.co/FX0WjcS2NT
It’s added that as part of his contract Griezmann’s trigger clause will be €100 million (£89 million) in the summer of 2018.
As noted by Eaves, the 26-year-old was linked with a summer move to United. In the end, with Atletico banned from bringing in any new players until January, he opted to stay with the capital club for another season at least.
However, speculation is gathering pace regarding a move at the end of the campaign, especially with two of Europe’s biggest clubs said to have taken a liking to the former Real Sociedad man.
Barcelona’s admiring glances come as no shock, as Griezmann has long been one of the most dangerous attackers in La Liga. Per OptaJose, he’s been prolific since arriving at Atletico:
3 – Most goals scored for Atletico under Simeone in all comps: Antoine Griezmann 83 Radamel Falcao 58 DIEGO COSTA 56 Return? https://t.co/91MtFwrSPa
Manager Diego Simeone has had a massive impact on the forward’s game. Now a split striker who thrives in central areas, Griezmann was formerly a wide player who would drift in and out of matches.
As he’s become more experienced Griezmann has been willing to take greater responsibility for Atletico.
On the big stage he’s come up with some big goals for Atletico. As noted by Spanish football journalist David Cartlidge, in the UEFA Champions League he’s been a talisman:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
Griezmann with 50% of Atleti’s goals or assists over last two Champions league seasons. 14 goals and 3 assists.
Additionally, per Sky Sports Statto, in the first game at Atletico’s new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, he came up with a crucial goal for his team in a 1-0 win over Malaga:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Antoine Griezmann scores the 1st goal at Wanda Metropolitano. All 32 of his La Liga goals for Atletico at Vicente Calderon were in wins https://t.co/CzKHC73KfK
After losing Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Barcelona moved to sign Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund to bolster their forward line. However, another forward to offer competition and cover to him, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez would be a huge boost to manager Ernesto Valverde.
Given his dynamism, intelligence and potency, Griezmann would fit in well at the Camp Nou. With that in mind, and a release clause of €100 million considered, expect a number of suitors for one of Europe’s most exhilarating attacking players.