Sport put a bombshell on its front page Sunday morning. Echoing and expanding upon a Marca story from Saturday, the Catalan newspaper claims that Barcelona are set to pursue Juventus forward Paulo Dybala or Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann in the quest for a Neymar replacement. The Brazilian’s transfer saga looks set to end with him donning Paris Saint-Germain’s colors this month, and Barça’s board will have a €222 million hole in their pockets.
To that end, Sport say, Barcelona are “confident” that Atleti will negotiate for Griezmann and that he could be had for less than his €100 million buyout clause.
Apparently, Griezmann’s fresh renewal and his affirmation that he would stay for the 2017/18 season are still not good enough for the media. And seeing as this is an Atlético blog, we have an obligation to break this down one more time, as tiresome as it is:
Atlético will not negotiate for Griezmann. They wouldn’t in May, they wouldn’t in June, they wouldn’t in July and they certainly won’t now in August with the season set to begin in three weeks. Further, Atleti will not discuss lowering their star player’s transfer fee so that he can join a direct league rival. Pay €100 million, or kick rocks.
And even if Barcelona pay Griezmann’s release clause, they will encounter problems in signing the Frenchman. Griezmann is an Atlético player. He renewed his contract just last month. He has apologized to supporters following his unnecessary flirtations with Manchester United and other clubs. He is the highest paid player in the team, by far. To turn back now would equal the biggest betrayal in club history - bigger than Sergio Agüero’s in 2011. Griezmann knows that, and he’s gone to great lengths on his Instagram and Snapchat to show how much fun he’s having with teammates and how happy he is at this moment.