Antoine Griezmann 'makes transfer decision' amid Tottenham and Man City interest
Tottenham and Manchester City have been dealt a blow in their reported pursuit of Antoine Griezmann after the player allegedly told Barcelona he would only agree to leave the club to join his former side Atletico Madrid.
The French forward has been strongly linked with a departure from the Nou Camp this summer as the Catalan giants desperately seek to cut their wage bill so they can afford to sign up Lionel Messi on a lucrative new contract.
At one stage it looked as though Griezmann would be involved in a swap deal for Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez, but that eventually fell through after the clubs failed to agree on a transfer fee.
Spurs and City are two of the Premier League teams who are said to have been showing an interest in the 30-year-old, with Barca very much willing to listen to offers for the player.
But according to Barcelona-based publication Diario Sport Griezmann has made it clear to the powers-that-be that he will refuse to leave unless it is to re-join Atletico, who he represented for five years between 2014-19.
It leaves Barca in a hugely difficult situation, especially given that Griezmann is one of their highest earners and is thought to be on a staggering €880,000 (£753m) per week, with his contract not due to expire until 2024.
Griezmann would likely accept a wage cut if it allowed him to go back to Atletico, but currently the La Liga champions do not seem to have a huge amount of interest in him.
Speaking about his former player recently, Atletico manager Diego Simeone appeared to close the door on a return when he said: “I want the best for him and I hope he will succeed at Barcelona.
“He is at an extraordinary club and Antoine is a complete player. At Euro 2020, he again proved he can bring a lot [to a team] regardless of his positioning. But today, he is not with us. I only wish the best for a player who gave me everything.”
Barca's perilous financial situation means that Messi is amazingly still a free agent after his contract expired at the end of June.
And with just three weeks to go until the start of the new La Liga season it is looking increasingly possible that the six-time Ballon d'Or will not be registered in time for the first round of fixtures.
Barca are also thought to be keen on getting rid of the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic, and after bringing in Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia there is an urgent need to sell as soon as possible.