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Barcelona’s financial issues are continuing to hamper the Catalan giants’ hopes of re-signing Lionel Messi.
With substantial debts in the region of £1billion and a need to slash their wage bill, they can’t register new signings until money arrives at Camp Nou.
As such, Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia can’t be registered for the new season despite arriving on free transfers until they come into line with La Liga’s salary limits…. and nor can Messi, whose contract expired last month, leading to him becoming a free agent.
Some squad players have been moved on, with Junior Firpo joining Leeds, Konrad De La Fuente signing for Marseille, Jean Claire-Todibo heading to Nice and Francisco Trincao joining Wolves (albeit on loan).
But that’s nowhere near enough, with bigger names needing to go; however, finding buyers for the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic and Philippe Coutinho is proving difficult, especially when clubs know just how desperate Barca are.
That has led to Barca looking to push Antoine Griezmann through the exit door.
Antoine Griezmann's future is up in the air amid Barcelona's financial issues
The World Cup winner had been mooted for a return to Atletico Madrid, in a part-exchange deal involving Saul Niguez, but that switch has since failed to move forwards because they couldn’t agree on the money involved.
According to Sport, Barca asked to involve Joao Felix in the move – or that Atleti pay £18million. That was never an option for the current Spanish champions, leading to a break down in negotiations.
Which has therefore led to Barca, via intermediaries, seeing if there could be any Premier League takers for the France international.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and football’s current financial state they see England as the most likely avenue to shift their £107million signing, due to his huge salary.
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As revealed by the Daily Star last week, both Chelsea and Manchester City have been offered Griezmann; both have centre-forward spaces that they’re looking to fill this summer and Barca sought to take advantage.
However, despite discussions with representatives, both turned down the opportunity to sign the 30-year-old at this time, with Chelsea still seeking to land Erling Haaland, while Man City have prioritised Harry Kane.
For both, given the difficulties they’re facing trying to get their No.1 targets, it is potentially a solution they could return to later in the summer – when there is greater potential for Blaugrana bargains to be had.
The French international joined Barca in 2019
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Would Antoine Griezmann be a good signing for Man Utd? Have your say here
As such, Sport highlights Barcelona ’s continued push to sell, earmarking a potential opportunity via Manchester United – if the conditions work for the Red Devils.
However, what is not stated is what those conditions could be, at a time when, with Jadon Sancho arriving for £73million and Raphael Varane negotiations ongoing, United will be loathe to pay any kind of major fee – particularly when there is no natural spot for Griezmann in the starting lineup.
Additionally, Griezmann’s annual salary is well in excess of United’s highest earner; that's another issue which, despite the claims, make a move to Old Trafford effectively a non-starter.
Barcelona are pushing to get deals for the likes of Griezmann, Coutinho and others done as soon as possible because they know how vulnerable they are the longer they go without offloading big-money stars.
But their European rivals will only help them out on their terms, United included.
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