Sky Sports transfer expert Guillem Balague has said that Barcelona are ahead of Manchester United in the pursuit of Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann. The France international came on the brink of joining the Red Devils in the summer, but Atleti’s failure to lift their transfer embargo saw him stay put for the season.
He said: “As I’ve been saying all along, though, United are not the only team interested in Griezmann. 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.”
Barcelona lost an influential player in Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the summer, and they have since not been able to replace him efficiently with his replacement Ousmane Dembele sustaining a muscular problem in the early phase of the campaign.
Despite this, the Catalan giants have progressed with flying colours in the first half of the season, and they are currently 11 points ahead of Real Madrid heading to the El Clasico prior to Christmas Eve. Griezmann has transformed into a striker during his time at Atleti, but he could seamlessly fit into the left side of the attack.
With Diego Costa set to rejoin his Atleti teammates in January, and there is a suggestion that the Frenchman could end his association, although the club’s hierarchy will want to restrict any potential sale until the end of the season.