Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu Tried To Involve Antoine Griezmann In Swap Deal Prior To Bayern Munich Humbling
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According to MARCA, mere days before the Blaugrana were annihilated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter final, Bartomeu proposed Griezmann for Joao Felix in a straight swap.
Griezmann had only joined Barcelona from Atleti a year ago in a £107 million move, while Felix was drafted in by the Madrid outfit as his replacement for a club-record £113 million and took on the Frenchman's No.7 shirt.
Neither endured particularly impressive debut seasons in their new surroundings. It's said Bartomeu was hoping to offload Griezmann as a means to manage funds, with his wages considerably higher than Felix.
Marca's frontpage this morning claiming Barça suggested swapping Griezmann for João Félix earlier this summer, in part to help cut their wage bill. Atleti said no, they say. pic.twitter.com/fDu1ck5oS9- The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) August 28, 2020
However, Atletico, despite being open to their record goalscorer returning, weren't keen on the proposal and knocked it back.
Griezmann, meanwhile, is poised to be one of the beneficiaries of Barca's managerial change from Quique Setien to Ronald Koeman.
While the Dutchman has told a host of Barcelona players he does not see a future for them under his tutelage, Griezmann's first meeting with Koeman was incredibly encouraging.
According to L'Equipe, Griezmann looks set to be given a run in his preferred central role as well as receiving the No.7 shirt for the new campaign.
Today's front page of L'equipe: Antoine Griezmann in the center of the game.- Griezmann Chief (@griezmannility_) August 27, 2020
As Lionel Messi decides to leave Barcelona, new Catalans coach Ronald Koeman has let Antoine Griezmann know he is very happy with him. In the axis and with his favorite number 7 pic.twitter.com/EQWVV3mqfv
He took on the No.17 after moving to the Camp Nou but wasn't allowed to change to his favourite number - even with it becoming vacant after Philippe Coutinho was loaned out to Bayern Munich last year.
Koeman has already expressed his desire to play Griezmann centrally and get the best out of him.
"With all my respect, Griezmann must play in his position," he told NOS.
"It is not an extreme. It is not. You have to play in your role. This is where the most important part of a coach comes in, knowing your players well and getting the most out of them."
Despite a difficult first season where he often had to make do with playing out wide, Griezmann did still score 15 goals in 48 appearances.