Before closing a loan deal with Manchester City for João Cancelo, Barcelona reportedly studied the possibility of signing Molina — even though paying his €90 million release clause was (is) impossible for the Catalans. The Blaugrana believed they could offer the World Cup winner a higher salary than he receives in Madrid, and the report says the Spanish champions tried to offer their “discards” to Atlético in order to lower Molina’s price:
Barcelona’s strategy, difficult though it was, centered on proposing to (sporting director) Andrea Berta — as a consequence of the Financial Fair Play problems smothering the club — an option to choose among the players Barça had declared “transferable.” However, the Italian was focused fully on the search for a defensive midfielder, so the proposal was a non-starter.
Incredible that Miguel Ángel Gil had Berta so busy in trying to sign the 5 who never came that there simply was no time to listen to Barcelona’s “proposal.” Another business masterstroke from our chief executive! That’s why he's 52nd on the Spanish Forbes list, folks!
Anyway, everyone knows Barça have been seeking a long-term solution at right-back since Dani Alves first left the club in 2016. So it makes sense that ex-sporting director Mateu Alemany — and his replacement Deco — kicked the tires on Molina, whose performances since the 2022 World Cup have left little doubt that he is among the best at his position in Europe.
Molina — who once visited Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy as a preteen — has scored five goals in his past 12 games in LaLiga dating back to April. The 25-year-old seems completely at home in the 3-5-2 system and looks fully-adapted to Diego Simeone’s demands. He’ll be Atlético’s starting right-back for the next five years — if all parties want it.
And therein lies the intrigue — the Marca story mentions the interest of several clubs in signing Molina over the past two years, including Atalanta, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Juventus. It is imperative that Atleti renew the Argentine’s contract in the coming weeks — not months — in order to tie down one of Simeone’s fundamental pieces, the full-back he specifically requested in summer 2022.
Conversations reportedly began in May and remain on track, but the club’s apparent intention is not to raise Molina’s release clause — just his salary. This would leave Molina dangling a bit, out of reach for many clubs on the continent but certainly not all. In other words, a very Atlético thing to do.