Atlético reactivates the Griezmann option before Saúl’s departure

In the event that Saúl Ñíguez goes to Chelsea, Atlético de Madrid would seek the services of the Frenchman Griezmann, who a few years ago passed through the club

On the last day of the transfer market, the probable departure of Saúl Ñíguez to Chelsea has reactivated at Atlético de Madrid the option of forward Antoine Griezmann, for which the rojiblanco club insists on a loan from Barcelona to replace the midfielder’s departure ilicitano.

If Saúl leaves the club, as he has insisted in recent months, now with the current European champion as his destination (in the past the possibility of Barcelona was explored), in a negotiation in progress and pending completion, Atlético must replace it, because its staff would remain at 20 footballers if no one arrives.

Barcelona began the last day of the transfer market with a surprising proposal to Atlético de Madrid: an exchange between Antoine Griezmann and Joao Félix, in response to the initial intention of the Barça club to incorporate the Portuguese footballer on loan and which was rejected by the mattresses. Various sources close to the operation confirmed to ESPN Deportes Barça’s interest, a situation that Griezmann made sure to officially ignore without closing the door to any scenario.

However, about two months after a possible exchange operation with Saúl came to light, which finally did not go further and the permanence of Griezmann was sentenced as undisputed at the Camp Nou, the position of the French forward was highly questioned.

The Saúl route was rejected and the formula that Atlético is now looking for is a loan for the next year of the French striker.

In it is the Madrid club, because Saúl’s departure to Chelsea is only perceived as possible if the rojiblanco team has a replacement at a time for him to complete the squad of the current League champion and the pretension of the competition that Simeone wants to have two players in most of the positions.

At the moment, with Sául, Atlético has 21 players in its team, with the signings of goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte, midfielder Rodrigo de Paul and forward Matheus Cunha and with the losses of Víctor Machín, ‘Vitolo’, Lucas Torreira, Moussa Dembele and Ivo Grbic, compared to last season that won the League.

“When we prepare a squad, we try to prepare it in consequence of having two players per place,” said Diego Simeone, who added last Sunday after the 2-2 draw against Villarreal and before Saúl’s possible departure was accelerated: “We have the idea of ​​having a compensated squad. Until today we have it that way.” Another issue is with Saul’s goodbye, which would demand a replacement.

At the command of the Argentine coach, Griezmann unleashed his best version, which made him one of the leading players worldwide; a status that has declined in the two courses that he already accumulates at Barcelona, ​​without the numbers, the goals and, far from it, the transcendence he had in his five years as a rojiblanco.

His continuity at Barça is not officially discussed, but as it already happened in July, nothing would be ruled out in the last hours of the market.

The French international was the figure of Atlético from 2014 to 2019; five years alongside Diego Simeone, with three titles (the 2014 Spanish Super Cup, the 2017-18 Europa League and the 2018 European Super Cup) and with records that relaunched him to a prestigious position in the club’s history, frustrated by his own decision to go to Barcelona in the summer of 2019, just a year after his renewal with the Madrid entity.

When he left the Madrid team, he had played 257 games in five seasons (from 2014-15, when he arrived from Real Sociedad, until 2018-19), when he went to Barcelona, ​​and with 133 goals – the best scorer in 45 years and the fifth best in the history of the club-, always as the reference in that sense in each of those five campaigns (25 goals in 54 games in 2014-15; 32 in 54 in 2015-16; 26 in 53 in 2016- 17; 29 in 49 in 2017-18; and 21 in 48 in 2018-19). His 93 goals in the League meant 97 points for Atlético.

Information from EFE and the correspondent Jordi Blanco was used to make this report