Barça forward Griezmann's decided which club he wants to play for

Barça forward Griezmann's decided which club he wants to play for

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He would prefer Atletico Madrid but a move back to the Wanda will not be easy

Antoine Griezmann is on the exit ramp at Barcelona. His salary and value make him one of Barça's best assets to make room on the wage bill to renew Lionel Messi.

Coach Ronald Koeman warned that big decisions need to be made because Barça's priority is to keep Messi come what may.

And everything passes through releasing the wage bill. The departures so far help, but the club must make more reductions and lose one big salary.

Now, the main objective is to facilitate Griezmann's exit and, for that reason, the France forward is already on the transfer market.

There are several clubs interested and Barça will listen to diverse options, although the club would prefer a loan -- right now a big transfer fee is almost impossible -- to a foreign club.

There has been movement and Barça have received calls asking about the salary demands. Griezmann has always made it clear he wants to stay but won't stand in the way if the situation means it will be impossible for him to do so.

He would like to choose his destination, though, which is where the problems arise. Griezmann would prefer a return to Atletico, an option Barça aren't sure about. Firstly, because they don't want to strengthen a rival (the Luis Suarez saga did a lot of damage) and secondly because Atletico would push for a player exchange.

Atletico have presented various names to start negotiations but Barça aren't keen due to price or position of the players mentjoned. Recently, Saul Niguez has been mentioned, but Barça would prefer a defender that plays in front of the defence.

A centre-back could also enter the operation, but talks are complicated.

Barça have been willing to accept a loan on the condition the player's wage is fully covered, one of the biggest wages at the club. Juventus showed interest but it was pending Cristiano Ronaldo's future.

Chelsea have been most active in recent days. Manchester City and Manchester United are also following the situation but have not made any moves.

Barça insist they can't be proactive in this operation given the quality of Griezmann. They can tell the player he can leave, but it must be him who agrees on the next step. Atletico's his preference but it will be tough financially. What's clear is that Barça see the France international as a solution to balancing their accounts.

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