Antoine Griezmann's days at Barça are numbered. His departure is not imminent, but his move to Atlético de Madrid - the player's preferred destination - is getting closer by the day. If he has to leave Camp Nou, the French attacker wants to be able to choose his next club. It is understood that his preference would be to return to the Wanda Metropolitano where he can be managed once more by Diego Simeone - a coach who loves him unconditionally.
The pieces are currently being put in place, although Barça would have preferred a different kind of operation.
WEEKS OF NEGOTIATIONS
Barça has not been the driving force behind this departure, although the club did inform Griezmann's entourage about how difficult it would be for him to continue at Camp Nou in light of his high salary and the squad's prohibitive wage cap.
Since then, discussions have been held between Atlético de Madrid and Griezmann himself about a potential transfer. Despite denying their interest publicly, Atléti have always been interested in bringing the French international back to Madrid. Now that Griezmann has done everything he can to secure a return to the club, Atlético have launched a bid to sign their former player.
HE WILL AGREE TO A WAGE CUT
The key to this move has been Griezmann's willingness to take a wage cut in order to return to the Wanda Metropolitano. The French international's original plan was to stay at Barcelona, but in light of the club's financial difficulties he would prefer to return to his former club where he played brilliantly and was highly valued by the dressing room.
He is convinced that Diego Simeone can bring him back to his best, and his mind is now practically made up. However, many loose ends need to be tied up before his dream of returning can come true.
Barça is aware of the player's determination to return to Atlético de Madrid, and will do everything it can to facilitate this transfer and get their second highest paid player off their wage bill.
OTHER INTERESTED CLUBS
Other clubs have shown an interest in signing the player on loan, with Chelsea and Juventus willing to pay his whole salary for the upcoming season.
Juventus were eyeing up Griezmann as a potential replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who now looks set to stay in Turin. Chelsea, meanwhile, who are looking to sign a striker this summer, were seriously considering the possibility of signing Griezmann given that Erling Haaland appears to be out of their reach.
Barça had preferred to sell the player abroad in order to avoid strengthening a domestic rival, as they did last summer when they allowed Luis Suárez to join Atléti. This now looks impossible, as Griezmann has his heart set on a move back to the Spanish capital.