Although Manchester City’s summer has largely focused on the club’s interest in English stars Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, given the difficulty of both operations, they may be forced to consider other options. One of these alternatives, Antoine Griezmann, is a top-level player who has struggled to fit into Barcelona’s system alongside Lionel Messi and the club is desperate to offload as many players as possible.
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This presents a situation where City could potentially sign the forward on a cut-rate fee, as the Blaugrana simply must cut the budget in order to comply with La Liga’s salary cap requirements. With the signings of Memphis Depay, Eric García, Sergio Agüero, and Emerson Royal, as well as the high-profile contract renewal of Lionel Messi, the club must sell assets to register the players for the upcoming season.
With Kane set to cost north of £100 million and with multiple years left on his contract, Tottenham and Daniel Levy are under very little pressure to do business with a domestic rival, while City hold nearly every leverage advantage against Barcelona in their current situation. If push comes to shove, City can force the Catalans to make a deal on their terms, as a £35-40 million sale along with clearing Griezmann’s huge wages would go a long way to solving their current crisis, even though this would be below the player’s market value. His reputation has dipped, but even in a team where he cannot play his most natural free-roaming central forward position, he still scored 13 goals and provided 9 assists in La Liga last year.
Most of the rumors surrounding Griezmann this summer were centered around a swap deal move to Atlético Madrid for Saúl Ñíguez, but these talks have cooled recently. A potential City deal would be financially more beneficial, as that swap would have merely cleared the difference in wages between the two players, while a purchase would clear the wages entirely and provide a transfer fee.
As for City, Kane may simply be too difficult, so the question is whether or not to proceed with no full-time plan at center forward. While the team was very good for stretches last season without one, in the end, it felt like something was missing, and at his peak, Griezmann is a creative striker with plenty of goalscoring ability that would fit well into Pep Guardiola’s system.
If such a move would prohibit City from entering next summer’s Erling Haaland sweepstakes, then in all likelihood it is not worth it, despite the fact that it would help the team on the pitch next season. However, if City are never going to sign Haaland, this is an opportunity to get a fantastic deal on a world-renowned striker, and it should be something the board consider very seriously as the summer progresses.