Opinion Round-up

ROUND-UP: Griezmann done, de Ligt close, Maxi & Félix gone?

Graphic showcasing three potential targets for Barcelona / BLAUGRANAGRAM

In the midst of many news being recycled in order to sell papers and headlines, I take a look at some of the most talked about players when it comes to Barcelona’s upcoming transfer window, filter the reliable from the recycled, and give my take on the deals, in this second installment of the new series, ROUND-UP.

Many names have been thrown around Barcelona recently: Antoine Griezmann, Maxi Gómez, João Félix and Matthijs de Ligt are names that have been heavily mentioned, and news have come out from both reliable and unreliable sources and outlets, to the point where some news are being recycled to sell papers.

The reason I’m writing this article is to sum up the news regarding those players for the past few days, and personally give my take on who I think we should pursue.

So, without further ado, let’s go!

Antoine Griezmann

As you all possibly know by now, Antoine Griezmann and Atlético Madrid announced that the player officially expressed his desire to leave the Rojiblancos, and the club have given him the green light to do so. Since then, he’s been linked with numerous clubs: Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, and, of course, FC Barcelona.

As for the first three, they seem like very unlikely destinations, with Paris, according to the ever-reliable Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport, not viewing the player as a priority as they already have Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. in their ranks.

As for Manchester City, the club’s manager, Pep Guardiola, said in a press conference that ‘Barcelona fans shouldn’t worry’, as Manchester City ‘don’t have the money’ to secure the player’s signing.

One of the very reliable journalists when it comes to Bayern Munich, Christian Falk, has said that Bayern have gotten info that Griezmann already is in Barcelona: a piece of information that Paris also got, according to Mohamed Bouhafsi – so it definitely does seem like the deal is done. Bayern Munich’s president, Uli Hoeness, also did say that the club wasn’t going to sign anyone for a price higher than 80 million euros, and given Griezmann’s market value and release clause, that rules him out of the equation.

Moreover, Griezmann, from a logical point of view, wouldn’t tell Atléti that he’s leaving if he wasn’t certain of where his future would be. Everything does point towards the player being Barca-bound, and the hold up now, so to speak, is that his release clause drops to 120 million euros on July 1st.

According to MARCA, he also told club president Miguel Ángel Gil and manager Diego Simeone during his meeting with them that he’s leaving to Barcelona, but the club won’t say anything regarding the transfer until July 1st, when his release clause drops from 200 million euros.

According to SPORT, the player wasn’t liked by the dressing rooms, and some of the heavyweights were against him joining the club, presumably as it’d mean they’d be challenged for a spot.

Mundo Deportivo were quick to shoot those rumors down through the reliable Fernando Polo, and Xavier Muñoz, who said that there in fact is a consensus in the dressing room for Griezmann’s arrival and that the Frenchman was one of Valverde’s priorities last season.

Moreover, Polo and Muñoz say that most of Barcas players in fact approve of Griezmann’s signing due to his quality, and also because he’ll bring competition in the forward spots if he does arrive.

Per RAC1, Valverde ‘wants Griezmann at all costs’, and sees the player as a potential part of a front trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez.

So, in conclusion, I think it’s fair to say that the Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona deal will indeed happen this time round, and personally I do think it’s a done deal, with the club just waiting for July 1st to come. I think he’d be a really good fit, as he’d relieve Messi off having to do most of the creative work, not to mention that Griezmann is a lethal finisher. I think he’d fit in just fine here, even as a 9, which I think he’s intelligent enough to be able to adjust to.

Now, onto some other forwards…

Maxi Gómez

Barça have been linked with him and an offer of 25 million euros for the forward, and according to Alfredo Martinez of Onda Cero, Barça will look to get Maxi regardless of Griezmann’s potential arrival. Maxi would figure as a player who’d give Suárez rest, and would be a like-for-like replacement for his Uruguayan compatriot. I’d personally like him here: he’s decent in build up and a good finisher, and might not cost a whole lot of money.

SPORT have, through Radio Galega, have said Celta dismissed Barcelona’s offer and would only be looking to sell for at least 40 million euros, which is closer to the player’s release clause of 50 million euros. The Galician club is willing to sell some of its star players, but would, for obvious reasons, also be looking to get a good amount of money on them. Since then, Maxi has been linked with Arsenal and West Ham, and it’s fair to say the transfer window certainly will be interesting for the 22 year-old forward.

João Félix

TVI24 reported that Manchester City almost have a clear lane to acquire João Félix, although they and Barça are front-runners for the players signature. However, with Barça opting for Griezmann, Manchester seems like a much more likely destination for Félix.

Luka Jovic seemed Real Madrid-bound for a long time, up until Madrid, according to El Chiringuito, refused to pay the 100 million euros price-tag put on Jovic by Frankfurt. While this did open the door up for other clubs to try and sign the player, the general consensus seems to be that he’s expensive compared to what he actually offers.

I personally can’t see him ending up in Barcelona for that – or a similar price tag (e.g. 80 million euros), as Barça’s strategy seems to be to get a proven, quality player in Griezmann, and then a cheap, yet reliable option, like-for-like striker who can rest Suárez, which also is why I can’t see Félix ending up here, seeing as he’s more of a playmaker than an actual striker.

And now, onto Matthijs de Ligt…

Matthijs de Ligt

As for Matthijs de Ligt, many rumors have been surrounding the player, and it’s even gotten to the point where some news outlets are recycling the same news just to sell papers. As per reliable and sources, the player still wants Barça, but the monetary aspect of the deal is what’s holding it up. De Ligt and Raiola feel the player’s value has risen, and as a result want more money from Barça, who refuse to raise their initial offer.

Liverpool are according to very reliable outlets in James Pearce from the Liverpool Echo not interested in de Ligt, as manager Jürgen Klopp is very pleased with his current back-line and prefers to reinforce in other positions.

So, regardless of the news being recycled, the de Ligt deal remains stalled. Manchester United have also been linked with the player, although I personally can’t see him choosing a side competing in the Europa League over Barcelona, despite the Reds of Manchester allegedly offering him a whopping 14 million euros in yearly salary.

Personally, I think de Ligt will end up with Barcelona. He really wants Barça and sees them as his first priority, just like Barça see him as a high priority for the future. One of the parties will eventually end up compromising, but I’m certain the deal will be sealed soon.