sport news Griezmann and Saul deal will infuriate Atletico and Barca fans, but it must be ...

sport news Griezmann and Saul deal will infuriate Atletico and Barca fans, but it must be ...
sport news Griezmann and Saul deal will infuriate Atletico  and Barca fans, but it must be ...

Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi never quite hit it off at Barcelona and now the Frenchman has to leave the club so that Messi can stay.

News of Messi having agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut on a new five-year deal was leaked yesterday, largely to encourage sponsors to continue to commit to Barcelona as they try to haul themselves out of the financial mire.

The deal will happen but it will take time because for them to be able to pay Messi even half of what he previously earned they need to make massive savings elsewhere. Getting Griezmann off the wage bill is a start.

Antoine Griezmann is set to end his Barcelona nightmare by securing a move back to Atletico Madrid

Griezmann's move will see Saul Niguez move in the opposite direction in a swap deal

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Antoine Griezmann (left) and Saul Niguez (right) are in a swap deal neither player has asked for

Griezmann (left) is being let go by Barcelona to pay for Lionel Messi's new five-year deal

Griezmann (left) is being let go by Barcelona to pay for Lionel Messi's new five-year deal

Griezmann’s contract at Barcelona is heavily incentivized but with bonuses a basic salary of 12m euros rises to 20m, Saul will join for considerably less than half that sum, a saving that will go some way to help the club pass La Liga’s financial fair play rules.

They will then be allowed them to register Messi and his national team-mate Sergio Aguero as well as Eric Garcia, Emerson and Memphis Depay.

There are no solely football reasons for ditching Griezmann. His record of 35 goals in 99 games is decent and he was instrumental in Barcelona’s only trophy last season, the Copa del Rey.

Griezmann's Barcelona goal record is far from bad but new signings need to be registered

Griezmann's Barcelona goal record is far from bad but new signings need to be registered

It would make more sense for Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele to be sold but with both injured that looks impossible this summer and so Griezmann has been pushed into the market.

No bids have been forthcoming and even if they had, the player was reluctant to leave Barcelona for the Premier League. If he was going to leave he wanted it to be back to his former club and the swap with Saul Niguez suits just about all parties.

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Griezmann has never stopped being in close contact with his former Atletico Madrid teammates. There was texting in his first season and he even indicated to them that he’d made a mistake and would not be against returning. He is currently on holiday in Ibiza with Koke, ready to fly back when the deal is done.

Atletico can’t believe their good fortune. It was Luis Suarez last season and now it’s Griezmann. The club’s supporters will be divided at first. Some will not want to forgive the player who left them in 2019 but others will see a chance to win a second straight title boosted by the arrival of someone who has already shown he can score 20 goals a season for the club.

Letting Griezmann go will feel like when Barcelona sold Luis Suarez  to Atleti last summer

Letting Griezmann go will feel like when Barcelona sold Luis Suarez  to Atleti last summer

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