Barcelona will try to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou in the summer transfer window and plan to send Antoine Griezmann to Paris Saint-Germain, according to El Mundo (h/t Football Espana).
The Atletico Madrid forward agreed terms with Barcelona back in March, but the club are “now exploring the possibility of transferring” him to the Ligue 1 champions.
The France international will arrive as a replacement for Neymar, who is wanted back at Barcelona by captain Lionel Messi, according to the report.
Griezmann announced in May that he would leave Atletico Madrid in the summer but did not reveal where he would be playing his football next season:
Colin Millar @Millar_Colin
Griezmann now officially confirms Atletico Madrid goodbye. “It’s been an incredible five years here; thanks for everything, from the bottom of my heart.” https://t.co/OgTo5NpfTG
Atletico Madrid CEO Gil Marin told Movistar (h/t) that he has known since March that Griezmann would be joining Barcelona.
Per Jaime Candilat AS, the World Cup winner’s release clause drops from €200 million to €120 million on July 1, meaning any deal is unlikely to be made until that time.
Meanwhile, speculation has continued that Barcelona will re-sign former star Neymar.
The Spanish champions are willing to offer €100 million plus a player for the Brazilian, according to Globo Esporte (h/t Matt Maltbyat the Mirror).
Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain for a record fee of €222 million in August 2017 and while he has enjoyed domestic success with the French club he has been unable to deliver the UEFA Champions League title.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told France Football(h/t Jonathan Johnson at ESPN FC) he wants more commitment from his players going forwards.
“I want players willing to give everything for the shirt, the club and join for the project. Those who do not want that, or do not understand, we will see each other and talk. Of course, there are contracts to be respected, but the priority now is total commitment to the project. Nobody forced Neymar to sign for us. Nobody pushed him here. He knowingly signed up for this project.”
Al-Khelaifi also appears frustrated by some of his players’ behaviour:
AS English @English_AS
PSG players must end ‘celebrity behaviour’, slams Al-Khelaifi https://t.co/JYsR8QMLMI https://t.co/SeVOgHMVJ7
Julien Laurens at ESPN FC reports that PSG are open to selling Neymar in the summer and that Barcelona believe a deal “could be doable, but it won’t be simple.”
Football writer Andy West explained why it’s a good move for both parties:
Andy West @andywest01
So I’m calling it: Barça should sign Neymar. Surprised myself by writing that but there you go. (Happy to admit personal bias of wanting to watch him regularly again).
Andy West @andywest01
Neymar should be begging to come back to Barça. Moving to Paris has been a total disaster for him. It would actually do him good (life and football) to be (relatively) in the background again. No reason at all for Neymar, from his point of view, not to want to come back.
There is no doubt that Barcelona need to strengthen their attack in the summer. They were over-reliant on Luis Suarez last season, and the Uruguay international will turn 33 in January.
However, it seems unlikely they can afford to bring in both Neymar and Griezmann, meaning they have some tough decisions to make regarding their summer recruitment plans.