Barcelona’s first offer for midfielder transfer rejected, talks progressing over alternate

Barcelona are desperate to offload Antoine Griezmann this summer, and the player is also willing to leave if the offer is right. The Frenchman’s first preference is to return to former club Atletico Madrid, but the Catalan outfit are wary of strengthening a direct rival.

The reigning La Liga champions are also not flush with cash and will need a considerable financial outlay to afford Griezmann, who earns €25 million a season (£21m). A player swap was proposed by the Madrid-based club, with Barcelona first demanding Joao Felix in exchange for the France international.

According to Spain’s Marca, Atletico immediately rejected Barcelona’s request for Felix as they see him as part of the future of the club. The former Benfica star has not yet reached his peak with the La Liga outfit, but they are convinced that he still has a big role to play going forward.

The Catalan club are desperate to find a new home for Griezmann this summer. He is currently the highest earning player at the club and losing his wages will go a long way in helping Barcelona re-sign Lionel Messi and register new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.

After failing with a swap involving Felix, the name of defensive midfielder Saul Niguez was thrown into the mix. It was proposed that Niguez, who has fallen down the pecking order under Diego Simeone, could be willing to move in the opposite direction.

Barcelona were initially thought to be reluctant as they are hoping to receive a fee for the Frenchman, who cost them £108 million in 2019. However, according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, talks between the two clubs have progressed in recent days over the proposed swap between the two players.

Griezmann’s camp are yet to hear from Barcelona about their plans for his future, but Atletico are said to be aware of the 2018 World Cup winner’s openness to switch from the Camp Nou back to the Wanda Metropolitano this summer.

The Frenchman and Niguez have both been linked with moves to the Premier League this summer, but both players want to remain in Spain. The former has been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, while the latter is wanted by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

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