The proposed Griezmann-Saúl swap deal is now off, and it seems unlikely that negotiations will be re-opened
Antoine Griezmann's return to Atlético de Madrid appears to be off. Barça and Atléti have broken off negotiations after failing to reach an agreement on the swap deal. Neither side were happy with the financial terms of the exchange, and Barça made it clear that it was not willing to let the player go for less than his market value, as they did when Luis Suárez joined Atlético last summer.
Barça was asking for a different player - other than Saúl - in exchange for Antoine Griezmann, with Joao Félix one player being raised by the Catalans. Alternatively, it was asking for Atlético to pay 20 million euros in addition to the Spanish midfielder. The two sides failed to reach an agreement, and Barça new appears to be sounding out new suitors for the French forward.
Talks over the swap deal collapsed for financial reasons. Atlético couldn't afford the 20 million euros that Barça was asking for, and neither could it assume Griezmann's wage - even after taking a wage cut, which he was willing to do. Saúl Ñíguez - who has offers on the table from Premier League clubs - was also unwilling to accept a low salary at Camp Nou. After further discussions this weekend, the two sides came to the conclusion that it would be best to call the talks off.
Griezmann had already made it clear that he would only be willing to leave Barça if it was to return to the Wanda Metropolitano. The French forward had already spoken to Diego Simeone, and the move appeared to suit all parties at first. Barça's director of football, Mateu Alemany, spoke to Saúl directly following tough negotiations with the Madrid club. However, he made it clear to the Spanish midfielder that the club would not be able to take on another player on a high wage due to the club's issues regarding its wage bill. Furthermore, while Barça rates Saúl, the club would prefer to sign a player of a different profile.
Antoine Griezmann is now a problem for Barcelona. He completed pre-season training today, knowing that he is not guaranteed to be a Barça player come the end of the window. As far as Griezmann is concerned, his contract remains unaffected and he has no intention of signing for anyone other than Atlético, and there is a lingering hope that talks could be reignited as the market nears its close. Barça, meanwhile, remains hopeful that a Premier League team will come in for the player. Chelsea and Manchester United are two such sides who could make a move for the player, while Juventus are also understood to be monitoring his future. Barcelona is not ruling anything out, and it remains to be seen whether or not Griezmann would be willing to join one of the aforementioned sides. This is a problem that Barça needs to solve.