Manchester United are interested in France forward Antoine Griezmann if they can broker a deal with the cash-strapped La Liga giants.
According to Sport, FC Barcelona are in dire straits financially after announcing Lionel Messi’s contract extension, in which he reportedly took a 50% pay cut on his previous deal.
Griezmann, 30, initially stated he would only leave Barcelona for ex-club Atletico Madrid. Still, since Barcelona have so far been unable to ship off the expensive Frenchman, the Catalan club will look to shop their £107m signing further afield.
With crippling debts reportedly reaching £1bn, Griezmann has been identified as one of the players whose sales would provide a welcome relief to Barcelona’s finances.
Even with Messi agreeing to a substantial wage cut, Barcelona cannot register new players as they have exceeded La Liga’s strict salary limit.
New signings Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia from Manchester City, along with ex-Lyon forward Memphis Depay, are all in a state of limbo as they wait for the paperwork to be finalised and become registered as official squad members.
Barcelona has managed to get a few players out of the exit door, with Konrad De La Fuente joining Marseille, Jean-Clair Todibo signing for OGC Nice, and Francisco Trincao and Junior Firpo moving to the Premier League with Wolves and Leeds United respectively.
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However, this will not be enough, and Barcelona will desperately be looking for buyers of ageing, high-earners in the squad, such as the injury-prone Samuel Umtiti, Phillippe Coutinho, and Antoine Griezmann.
Barcelona initially made contact with Atletico over a potential swap-deal for Griezmann, involving Saul Niguez. That deal never appeared get fully in motion, as the clubs could not agree to a transfer fee.
Griezmann is among the club’s highest earners, reportedly making over €45m annually. This places him behind Lionel Messi at Barcelona and among the highest-paid football players on the planet.
A deal for an ageing Griezmann would smash United’s wage structure if he were to be on the same kind of salary.
David De Gea is their current highest earner with an annual salary of £19,500,000, approximately half of what the Frenchman currently makes at Barcelona.
As revealed by the Daily Star Sport last week, Griezmann was offered to Chelsea and Manchester City, but both clubs could not strike a deal with the players’ representatives.
It is unclear whether United would prioritise another forward – having just tied down Edinson Cavani for another season at Old Trafford and Jadon Sancho in a whopping £73 million transfer – especially at the enormous wages that Griezmann would likely demand.
Sport have not reported the projected costs of a transfer, but it is expected that Barcelona will not do the deal cheaply.
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