Barcelona boss Xavi has confirmed that a deal is in the works for Antoine Griezmann to re-join Atletico Madrid on a permanent basis this season, with a deal of around 24m euros being worked on.
The Frenchman rose to prominence under Diego Simeone, but moved to the Camp Nou after several summers of speculation during the height of Barcelona’s financial opulence, signing for a reported £108m.
However, despite okay form in Catalonia, it was clear that something was not working for all parties, and Griezmann moved back to Atleti on loan just two years later.
His role in Simeone’s side so far this season has been as exclusively as a substitute due to a clause in his loan contract that means the move would have to be made permanent for a high fee were he to play a certain percentage of minutes this season, which has led to him more often than not joining the fray just after the hour mark.
Now, this is set to end, with an agreement having been reached for around half the initial fee, while the striker will also take a 30% pay cut. Quizzed on the deal, Barca boss Xavi revealed that “It’s not official yet… but there’s an agreement, so we are all happy”
“I can only wish the player the best”, the Spaniard added.
Griezmann grabbed 35 goals and 17 assists in 102 appearances for Barcelona, but struggled to replicate the successful frontlines that the club is used to in recent history with Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Getting the 31-year-old off the books could well help Barcelona fund a move for Lionel Messi next summer, when his contract at Paris St Germain expires.