Barcelona reportedly want to put an end to the Antoine Griezmann debacle by agreeing a sale worth €25m (£22.1m) with Atletico Madrid in the January transfer window.
The 31-year-old initially left the Wanda Metropolitano for £108m to sign for Barcelona in 2019, but he has failed to regain the form that attracted the attention of the Catalans three years ago.
Griezmann was shipped back to Atletico for a two-year loan spell in the summer of 2021, and he registered eight goals in seven assists in 39 games during his first season back under Diego Simeone last term.
However, the France international has only been a bit-part player for Atletico this term, making just the one start in La Liga and coming off the bench on seven occasions in all tournaments.
Simeone has hinted that he is under club orders not to start Griezmann, who would return to the capital permanently for €40m (£35.4m) if he plays more than 45 minutes in 50% of games during his time on loan.
During the 2021-22 season, Griezmann started a total of 27 matches for Atletico in all competitions, and Barcelona are thought to be seeking legal advice on the matter as Simeone’s side look to avoid paying the fee.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are willing to lower the price to €25m (£22.1m) to resolve the conflict amicably before being forced to take the matter to court.
While Barcelona supposedly believe that the €40m (£35.4m) clause would be valid after just one year of Griezmann’s loan, Atletico are insisting that it would only become active at the end of his two-year spell, hence the attacker’s omission from the first XI this term.
Nevertheless, Barcelona are determined to strike a solution during the January transfer window, and La Blaugrana are said to be pushing for a deal to be done before January 8, when the two sides are scheduled to face off in La Liga.
From Simeone’s point of view, the Atletico boss is also desperate for the issue to be rectified as he wants to be able to select Griezmann for his first XI without any barriers.
Griezmann is also understood to remain relaxed about the situation, as the former Real Sociedad man knows he would be a regular starter for Simeone under normal conditions.
The World Cup winner has come up with 35 goals and 17 assists in 102 appearances for Barcelona in all competitions, but he is seemingly not in Xavi‘s plans following the signing of Robert Lewandowski.
Simeone handed Griezmann his first start of the campaign in last weekend’s Madrid derby defeat to Real Madrid, and he has otherwise played fewer than 30 minutes in all of his side’s fixtures this term.
Despite his limited game time, the Frenchman has a respectable three goals and one assist under his belt this season, including a 101st-minute winner against Porto in the Champions League.
With Griezmann only on the fringes of the first XI, Atletico have taken 10 points from their first six La Liga games of the new season to sit seventh in the table at this early stage.