Barcelona have received one of their biggest boosts in their transfer planning as it emerged that Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will not join a bidding war for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann.
The Catalan club are still looking at ways to improve their squad in the upcoming transfer windows and one option the technical staff have picked out is Griezmann, who they were previously linked to after Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain.
Since then, Griezmann’s reluctance to leave Atletico Madrid whilst they were under a transfer ban made a deal impossible.
Nor would it have been easy to bring him to Camp Nou if he had been ready to move, as Manchester United were keen on the French international last summer.
In fact, the situation in the summer was matter of United being more interested than Mourinho.
Mourinho likes the idea of having Griezmann in his side, but was not convinced by the price at which he would come, unlike many other staff behind the scenes.
That is part of why the Red Devils will not return to the bidding, either this January or in the summer, if Griezmann does leave Atletico.
Such a development now makes Barcelona the favourites in the race for the forward.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu faces a complex situation, though, with Philippe Coutinho also on the table as an option, despite Liverpool’s refusal to negotiate.
In spite of the negative responses so far, Barcelona will continue to push for an agreement with the Merseyside club.
Given that both players will come at a cost, likely at least 100 million euros each, it is unlikely that the club will sign both Coutinho and Griezmann and at one point a decision will be required.
Neither would cost less than that figure and to finance such a deal it is likely that players who are not involved under Valverde would have to leave at a good price.
Another complicating factor is
the formal complaint submitted by Atleti to FIFA relating to the club’s contact with Griezmann without permission.