Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague believes Barcelona are leading the race to secure Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann’s signature.
In his latest column for Sky Sports, the author and pundit said Griezmann’s departure seems a foregone conclusion, although Manchester United may not be his most likely destination.
Griezmann was reportedly close to joining United in the off-season, but his plans were undone by Atletico’s transfer ban.
Nothing is stopping him from moving on at the end of this season, however, although a move to England may no longer be on the cards.
“United are not the only team interested in Griezmann,” Balague said. “Barcelona are willing to match his €100m buy-out clause and the club’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has met Griezmann’s family for lunch, that’s because he doesn’t have an agent and his sister looks after his affairs. But it wasn’t only his sister that was there, perhaps tellingly, his parents were in attendance too.”
Balague also said Barca would probably not be able to acquire both Griezmann and Liverpool target Philippe Coutinho, as their current wage bill is too high to support the acquistion of both players.
“There is talk of Barcelona bringing in both Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, but there are few problems with these reports. Firstly, Barca’s wage structure accounts for over 80 per cent of the club’s income. The wages are so high and they desperately need more income and that is what they are trying to work on. Until that’s secured, I don’t think they can afford both Griezmann and Coutinho,” Balague added.