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31st Aug 2021

Antoine Griezmann heading back to Atlético as Barcelona eye Dutchman

Antoine Griezmann looks likely to be heading back to Atlético Madrid on loan with an obligation to buy, according to multiple reports

Reuben Pinder

Never should have left, really

In possibly the most surprising turn of events this deadline day, Antoine Griezmann appears to be on the verge of returning to Atlético Madrid on loan.

Reports from both Sky Italia and Fabrizio Romano have stated that Barcelona and Atlético are in advanced talks over a loan deal that would include an obligation to buy – presumably for a lot less than the €120 million Barça paid for him in 2019.

Personal terms have reportedly been agreed and all that remains is for the two clubs to iron out some final details.

The rumours about Griezmann’s move to Barcelona two years ago had permeated every corner of the internet for over a year, with the player channeling his inner LeBron in 2018, releasing a video stating that he would be staying in Spain.

That pledge lasted all of one year until Barcelona triggered his release clause, though by that point it had become obvious to everyone except Barcelona that maybe they shouldn’t spend that much money on a player with no obvious place in their team.

Predictably, Griezmann struggled to replicate the form he enjoyed at Atlético while playing at the Camp Nou, and a return tot he Wanda Metropolitano would probably suit all parties now – especially considering Barça’s dire financial circumstances.

During his five seasons at Atlético Madrid, Griezmann never once scored fewer than 15 league goals, but the Frenchman has failed to register more than 13 in either of his full seasons at Barça.

Oh, and in the time since he left, Barcelona have been humiliated in the Champions League, losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich, lost their greatest ever player, and Atlético have won a league title.

It’s safe to say a move back to Atlético would please everyone involved.

Barcelona, meanwhile, look to be lining up Sevilla’s Dutch striker Luuk de Jong as their final piece on ‘incoming’ transfer business. De Jong had a previous, unsuccessful stint in the Premier League with Newcastle United.

With Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann heading out the EXIT door, Barca fans may have to settle for de Jong and Martin Braithwaite to rattle in their goals.