Barcelona’s difficult financial situation means the Catalans reportedly believe they must sell either Antoine Griezmann or Ousmane Dembele this summer in order to raise funds and free up space on the wage bill.
The Catalan giants announced debts of €1.2 billion ($1.5bn) in January which looks set to impact the club’s transfer plans. According to Toni Padilla at Ara, the club “is clear” that “at least one of the two” must be sold.
The report adds that Griezmann is Barcelona’s second-highest earner after Lionel Messi but is not interested in an exit. The Frenchman enjoyed a strong second season at Barca, scoring 18 times in all competitions.
Indeed Griezmann now thinks that “the time is right for him to become a great Barça player.” However, the Frenchman will face increased competition for a place in the attack next season with Sergio Aguero having arrived on a free transfer and Ansu Fati expected back after missing almost all of the 2020-21 season through injury. Memphis Depay is also reportedly “very close” to joining on a free transfer.
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Dembele To Depart Barcelona?
Dembele is the more likely option to depart given his contract is up in 2022 and he is yet to agree an extension. The forward spoke about his future while on international duty with France but gave little away in an interview with L’Equipe.
“I don’t know, we’ll see. We will meet with the management,” he said. “I’m not in a hurry and neither are they, we’ll see what happens. I’m totally focused on the Euros, then I’ll go on holiday. It’s been a long season.”
There has been little progress when it comes to contract negotiations, according to Mundo Deportivo’s Roger Torello. Barca think Dembele may be waiting until after the Euros to see if any offers arrive.
The Catalan giants also fear that Dembele may already have agreed a pre-contract with another club for 1 January 2022 when the Frenchman will be free to negotiate with other teams as he’s in the final year of his deal.
Barcelona To Spend Big?
President Joan Laporta has been busy in the transfer market already signing Aguero, Eric Garcia, and Emerson Royal. The 58-year-old has also promised more transfer news as he bids to strengthen the squad.
Laporta wants to sign a top center-back as he considers the defense the weakest part of the squad, according to journalist Jose Alvarez. The president is an admirer of Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt and Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte but knows both players will not come cheap.
Laporte cost Manchester City €65 million in January 2018 but has since lost his place in the starting XI. Barca could reportedly try to use Sergi Roberto as part of a deal to land the new Spain international.
De Ligt was even more expensive as he moved from Ajax to Juventus for €75m, making the Dutchman the most expensive defender in Serie A history. The center-back has been asked about the speculation about a move to Barca and told ESPN that rumors “make no sense now.”