Antoine Griezmann: Is Barcelona move done deal for Atletico Madrid forward?

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Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann made the unusual move of announcing he is leaving Atletico Madrid this summer without having a deal signed with another new club.

Barcelona are expected to pay the 28-year-old France forward’s 120m euros (£105m) release clause but what if they don’t?

He was set to join the Spanish champions last summer, before revealing he was going to stay with Atleti in a documentary called ‘The Decision’.

He made the latest announcement in a two-minute Twitter video on Tuesday.

Griezmann has scored 133 goals in 256 appearances for Atletico, who are second in La Liga, since joining from Real Sociedad in 2014.

BBC Sport understands Barcelona will pay the buyout clause, but the deal is not yet completed. So could he move elsewhere?

“There’s a very big probability he will go to Barcelona even though the deal is not completed yet,” football journalist Julien Laurens said on BBC Radio 5 Live Football Daily. “Considering they had an agreement last summer, there’s no doubt they can get an agreement quickly this time.”

But he added it is not a foregone conclusion.

“He’s playing with more teams than that. His lawyer has met with a lot of clubs since March because why not? His dream is to play for Barcelona at the Nou Camp and with Lionel Messi.

“He was so close to joining them last summer so it would make sense in many ways. If for some reason that doesn’t happen and Barcelona are not so keen, or they can’t afford him, he’s open to other big clubs – coming to the Premier League for example.”

Griezmann – whose only major club trophy is the 2018 Europa League – had been hoping to play this season’s Champions League final at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano home, but Juventus beat them in the last 16.

Where else could Griezmann go?

Could he end up making the short trip across the Spanish capital?

“Real Madrid would be an option, especially if Paul Pogba went there,” said Laurens. Manchester United midfielder Pogba is Griezmann’s international team-mate with France, with the pair winning the 2018 World Cup.

Griezmann has never played in his homeland, and Paris St-Germain may be unable to afford him having bought the two most expensive footballers in history in the past two seasons – Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

“PSG are below the pecking order,” said Frenchman Laurens. “Two or three years ago they would have been really keen on him, but this time it’s more difficult because of financial fair play.

“They need to sell before buying. Even if he’s a bargain 120m euros it’s still a lot of money. Also his wages are huge. I can’t see PSG happening, as much as I’d love to.”

However some media outlets are saying Ligue 1 winners PSG are Barcelona’s main rivals.

“It’s Griezmann so anything can happen. The technical director of PSG gave him the hope PSG was a possibility. Barcelona aren’t coming out with the announcement because they haven’t closed a deal yet,” said Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague.

Could Griezmann have made another documentary?

Griezmann announcing his decision in a documentary on the eve of the World Cup last year was much ridiculed. But he was planning to do the same again this summer until he told Atletico boss Diego Simeone of his decision on Tuesday.

“When Atletico found out they told him ‘unless you say now in a little video you’ve leaving, we’ll come out and say it ourselves’. It seems like he had a plan to do something like that,” Balague said.

“After the disaster of last summer, he was slaughtered by everyone,” said Laurens. “Why would you want to do another one? Surely he should know better by now.”

European football writer Raphael Honigstein thinks Griezmann’s decision to make this announcement was “strange”.

“It does seem like he wants to force the issue which is unusual,” he said. “With the release clause in hand you don’t have to. You’re in charge and you can very quietly find a club willing to trigger that clause and do the agreement, then make an announcement.

“So either Barcelona are not being 100% truthful when they say they don’t have an agreement – or he has jumped the gun a little bit which would be strange.”

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