It was only a matter of time. Barcelona are coming to terms with the increasing likelihood that Neymar has played his last game for the club and will sign for PSG imminently, leading the club to set the search for his replacement in motion.
The club’s pursuit of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has played out in the backdrop to the ongoing flow of news regarding Neymar’s future but as Mundo Deportivo noted on their front page on Tuesday morning, the Premier League club are not willing to sell and have reportedly slapped an almighty 100-million-euro price tag on the 25-year-old Brazil international as a starting point for any negotiations, which Liverpool are not eager to invite in any case.
Griezmann to Camp Nou?
That has led Sport to speculate that the Camp Nou board will make a serious play for Atlético Madrid and France striker Antoine Griezmann, with the daily stating that the 26-year-old has emerged as “the favourite” to fill Neymar’s boots at the club.
Griezmann was courted by Manchester United earlier in the summer but committed himself to the Atlético cause when the club’s transfer ban was upheld, preventing Diego Simeone from adding to his squad until 2018. That, combined with the current state of the market, suggests that Barça will face a difficult task to persuade Atlético to part with their crown jewel and even if the board are willing to sit down, the fee likely to be cited will not be far off what Barça will pocket should Neymar leave for Paris in a deal that will set PSG back 222 million euros.