Exclusive – The agent of Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has met with a handful of Premier League sides to discuss a transfer, but Atletico Madrid remain well ahead in the race for his signature.
Talks are underway between the two Spanish sides over a deal which would see Griezmann return to the Wanda Metropolitano in exchange for midfielder Saul Niguez, who has been made available for transfer by Atletico.
Both sides are keen on the agreement, with Barcelona desperate to get Griezmann’s wages off the books to help them re-sign Lionel Messi, but they would ideally prefer to see the Frenchman move away from La Liga instead of to the same team that just won the title with Luis Suarez in their ranks.
Griezmann has been offered to a whole host of clubs across Europe, and sources have confirmed to 90min that the 30-year-old’s agent and sister, Maud, has spoken to at least two Premier League clubs this month.
Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have all been made aware that Griezmann is available for a low fee, with Barcelona prepared to eat a huge loss on the £107m they paid to sign him two years ago just to get his wages off the books.
Elsewhere, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have all been contacted, but Atletico remain heavy favourites to get a deal over the line.
Atleti boss Diego Simeone has played a significant role in the deal. He remains a huge fan of Griezmann, whom he turned into one of the deadliest forwards around between 2014 and 2019, and is determined to link up with the Frenchman once again.
A return to the Wanda Metropolitano is seen as the likeliest option for Griezmann, and while Barcelona would prefer not to do the deal, their number one priority is re-signing Messi and unless an English side comes in with a similar offer, they have no other choice but to send Griezmann back to Atletico.
Messi has agreed a new deal with a significant drop in salary, but he will still be one of the highest-paid players in the world when he does eventually sign on, and keeping Griezmann’s mammoth wages is simply not feasible.