Antoine Griezmann was a popular name during Memphis Depay’s presentation as Barcelona player this afternoon according to Diario Sport. Joan Laporta, the president of the Catalan club, made it clear his continuity wasn’t guaranteed.
“Griezmann is a Barcelona player, but it can’t be denied there has been movements in recent weeks,” he said. “We have the footballer [on our books], but there has been interest in him because he’s a world-class footballer.”
Mateu Alemany, Barcelona’s sporting director, sang from the same hymn sheet. “We’re in a unique market in which there’s little financial space and a lot of imagination regarding the exchange of footballers,” he said. “We value Antoine a lot. He’s a top player. It won’t be easy for there to be an offer interesting enough for him to leave. We’ll see what will happen.”
Griezmann was heavily linked with a swap deal in exchange for Saul in recent weeks, a transfer that would see the Frenchman return to Atletico Madrid and the Spanish midfielder trade the Spanish capital for the Catalan capital.
The move broke down, however, creating an awkward situation for Barcelona. They need to reduce their wage bill significantly to create the financial wiggle room that will allow them to renew Lionel Messi’s contract and register their new signings. Without Griezmann’s sale, that could prove highly difficult.
The Frenchman is a unique thing in this Barcelona team; a saleable asset the club wouldn’t mind losing. Griezmann contributed 13 goals and eight assists in 36 league games last season, but is closely linked to the disgraced presidency of Josep Maria Bartomeu.