Barcelona are willing to pay a premium of €15million (£13m) in order to sign Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid before the World Cup begins, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.
The French striker’s release clause will automatically lower from €200m to €100m on July 1, but Barcelona are hoping to seal the deal before he leaves for the international tournament in Russia.
To do that, they will offer Atletico Madrid a deal worth €115m, which will be paid across several installments rather than one lump sum, as would be the case if they activated his release clause.
Not only would that relieve some of the financial strain from the La Liga champions, but it would also help to keep relations with Atletico Madrid amicable. Barcelona value the bond they share with their counterparts and will make sure they are completely happy with the deal before going ahead.
Essentially, that means Griezmann will have to depart the Wanda Metropolitano on the best possible terms with the fans. To do that, he needs to help them win the Europa League, where they face Marseille in the final on May 16.
But once the season has concluded, Griezmann will be firmly set on getting himself to the Nou Camp as quickly as possible. He has, according to the same report, already agreed a deal in principle so only formalities will be required once Atletico accept an offer.
A quick deal suits Diego Simeone’s team as well as it gives them more time to find a replacement with Sergio Aguero among a number of targets considered. However, Atletico won’t be able to make a move until Griezmann is out of the door.
The Manchester City striker has grown disillusioned with life under Pep Guardiola and would be open to a move under the right terms.
He has always maintained he will return to Independiente in Argentina when his contract at the Etihad Stadium expires in 2020.