Atletico could extend Griezmann loan & delay €40m purchase option but won't consider Joao Felix transfer to Barcelona

2:54 PM WAT 29/03/2022
Griezmann Atlético de Madrid
The Spanish giants will look to keep the core of their attack intact when the summer transfer window opens

GOAL can confirm that Atletico Madrid could extend Antoine's Griezmann loan and delay triggering their €40 million (£34m/$44m) purchase option on the Barcelona forward, but the Liga champions won't consider giving the green light for Joao Felix to complete a transfer to Camp Nou.

Griezmann completed a €120 million (£101m/$133m) move to Barca from Atletico in 2019, bringing to an end his five-year spell in the Spanish capital.

The Frenchman struggled to live up to expectations in his first two years at Camp Nou as the club was plunged into a financial crisis and ended up returning to Wanda Metropolitano on loan last summer, with the Blaugrana forced to take drastic steps to reduce their wage bill.

Will Atletico buy Griezmann outright?

Atletico agreed to cover Griezmann's full wages after bringing him back to the club and the World Cup winner took a 40 per cent pay cut as part of the deal.

The Madrid outfit did not pay any fee for Griezmann at the time, but a €40m purchase option was included and it has been reported that they will pay Barca the amount in question at the end of the season.

Atletico are not obliged to buy the 31-year-old at this stage, though, and may yet decide to simply renew his loan agreement for one more season.

GOAL has learned that, in that case, Griezmann's purchase option would only become an obligation for Atletico if he plays more than 50 per cent of matches when available in 2022-23.

The club would also still be able to wait until next summer to pay the full amount for the forward, whose current contract at Barca is not due to expire until 2024.

What about Felix?

Barca are reportedly interested in signing Atletico's record signing Felix, and club president Joan Laporta has confirmed his admiration for the Portuguese attacker.

Laporta has also revealed that the Blaugrana made an approach for Felix in 2021, telling RAC 1: "I like Joao Felix a lot and his agent knows it. He is a great player.

"We looked at making the change this past summer and it could not be done."

Felix has been unable to fully justify his €126m (£107m/$140m) price tag since joining Atletico from Benfica in 2019, but he remains under contract until 2026 and head coach Diego Simeone has publicly insisted that he is a key member of the squad.

GOAL can confirm that Atletico have long been aware of Barca's interest in Felix, but they won't be open to negotiating his departure when the transfer window reopens, with his release clause currently set at €350m (£296m/$389m).

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