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The Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann confirmed that he will leave the club at the end of the season among the rumors about his membership in Barcelona:
Colin Millar @Millar_Colin
Griezmann officially confirms the Atletico Madrid farewell. "There have been five incredible years here, thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart". https://t.co/OgTo5NpfTG
The Spanish champions are in talks with the French international for a potential five-year deal at the Camp Nou as they try to strengthen their attack during the summer transfer window, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano:
Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano
Officer: Antoine Griezmann will leave the Atlético de Madrid!
… and Barcelona are ready to pay its release clause for € 125 million 😉 https://t.co/rMGAyEchSy
The Blaugrana would be willing to pay its € 125 million release clause to bring Griezmann to Barcelona this summer.
Griezmann rejected a move to Barcelona in the summer of 2018 and announced his plans to remain athletic in a documentary entitled La Decision. However, Barcelona seem to have renewed their efforts to win the World Cup winner following the dramatic exit from the UEFA Champions League by hand Liverpool.
Atletico wanted to avoid another summer of transfer speculation regarding their star ahead and called a meeting to discuss his future, according to David Cartlidge of ESPN:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
Emergency meeting called Athletes on Antoine Griezmann. The club wants to avoid this summer's "decision-making" saga at all costs. Gil Marín, Simeone, Andrea Berta all present; they want to hear it personally from Griezmann if he wants to leave.
Griezmann reported at the Athletic that he wants to leave to find a "new challenge", second Isaac Suarez to Brand. The 28-year issue is currently € 200 million, but drops to € 125 million on July 1, according to the report.
Griezmann will pay the release clause but did not tell the club where he will go, according to Cartlidge:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
Griezmann did not give his destination to Athletes. However, he informed that he will deposit the € 120m release clause before LaLiga on 1 July, as per the regulation.
The Frenchman once again played a key role in the Atletico this season, scoring 21 goals in all competitions to help the Los Colchoneros in second place behind Barca in the Liga.
Opta emphasized how important it was for Athletes during his five years at the club:
133 – Antoine Griezmann is Atlético de Madrid's fifth best scorer in all competitions (133 goals). Goodbye. https://t.co/h7S8zldo7t
A move to Barcelona may not be overly popular with supporters given the way Griezmann rejected club advances last summer.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu suggested that there are no resentments and stated that "the documentary on his decision is water under the bridge", according to Samuel Marsden to ESPN FC.
Football correspondent Kieran Canning said that Barcelona is getting a good deal:
Kieran Canning @KieranCanning
Griezmann offshore. Buy the price of a clause of 125 million euros a blow against the taxes for Coutinho and Dembele, but it means that now the pressure on the Barca will find some buyers for the big players
Barcelona spent heavily on strikers in the recent transfer window but without much success:
Griezmann: ~ 125m
Coutinho: ~ 140m
Dembélé: ~ 120m
And this does not even take into account their massive wages.
Crazy to think that Barcelona spent so much on three players who combined will not do more than what Mbappé would have brought to the team.
Ousmane Dembele arrived in the wake of Neymar's departure, but despite showing his talent during his time at the Camp Nou, his stay was interrupted by an injury.
Philippe Coutinho also struggled to make his mark after arriving from Liverpool in January 2018, and the club is willing to sell Brazil forward to finance a move for Griezmann, second Sergi Capdevila to Sport.
The club also loaned to Kevin-Prince Boateng on loan from Sassuolo in January, but managed only three La Liga goals and has yet to score.
Barcelona need reinforcements in attack with forward Luis Suarez who turned 32 in January, and it seems that Griezmann will play his football at Camp Nou next season.