Barça's Plan A: Coutinho in January and Griezmann in July
The Camp Nou club considers both players difficult targets, but available ones. The France striker is expected to leave Atlético at the end of the season.
Barcelona have identified their two priority targets and are hopeful of adding one in January and the other next summer. Although the Camp Nou board appreciates there will be difficulties surrounding both players, the feeling is that Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann are viable targets.
Coutinho still in the frame
Josep Maria Bartomeu’s ideal plan is to try again for the Brazilian in January and then launch an offensive for Griezmann in the summer. The Barcelona president is aware that there will be competition and that in the case of Coutinho the primary one will be Liverpool, who refused to sell the attacking midfielder during the last window. Barcelona claimed that the Premier League club were asking for 200 million euros, a figure that was denied by Anfield. In any case, the relationship between Coutinho and Jürgen Klopp has become strained after the player handed in a transfer request and the Liverpool boss has lost his faith in Coutinho and questioned his commitment. However, Barça are aware that they will face other challengers, chief among them PSG.
In Griezmann’s case, it seems inevitable that the France striker will leave Atlético next summer and Barcelona have already expressed their interest to the player directly. As of July 1, 2018 Griezmann’s release clause will stand at 100 million euros, which is within Barça’s budget whether they sign Coutinho or not. Again, the Camp Nou will face considerable competition for the forward, with Manchester United and PSG both firm admirers and the Ligue 1 club considering selling Edinson Cavani at the end of the season.
Barcelona believe they hold trump cards: the opportunity to play alongside Leo Messi and the French contingent already at the club, Samuel Umtiti, Ousmane Dembélé and Lucas Digne. The Catalan club would also offer the France striker a huge contract.