Uncertainty prevails for many members of the current FC Barcelona squad, with the club feverishly trying to balance the books ahead of the 2021-22 campaign in La Liga. Still massively over budget, the sense of urgency is growing with a desperate need to slash costs, which means they are willing to accept offers for almost every player on the books.
Amongst those expecting to be heading for the exit door are four top French players, each exceptionally talented but now considered surplus to the requirements of Barcelona. Let’s take a look at their current circumstances and where they could be heading, before the summer transfer window closes.
The biggest name amongst the French quartet at Barcelona, 30-year-old Antoine Griezmann is one of the most valuable assets the club can hope to trade right now. Griezmann is also the second-highest earner behind Lionel Messi at the club, which means that offloading him would achieve a significant reduction in the wage bill.
According to marca.com reports, Barcelona want to engineer a swap deal with Atletico Madrid, aimed at bringing Saul Niguez in the opposite direction. However, negotiations between the two Spanish clubs have stalled. Meanwhile, additional rumours are emerging that Griezmann could be headed to Juventus instead, as part of a swap deal for Paulo Dybala. The one certainty is there is no lack of interest from other clubs.
Having already endured such rotten luck with injuries during his time with Barcelona, once again, Ousmane Dembele finds himself facing yet another lengthy spell on the sidelines. The 24-year-old suffered a serious knee injury with France at Euro 2020, with rehabilitation and recovery keeping him out of action until October at the earliest.
Dembele is out of contract in 2020 and given the delicate financial situation at Barcelona, he was an obvious candidate to be sold this summer. In comments highlighted by dailymail.co.uk recently, Ronald Koeman admitted his frustration at the injury loss of Dembele, who is a player he holds in high regard. For the moment at least, the Frenchman will be staying put at the Camp Nou.
After joining Barcelona from Lyon in 2016, Samuel Umtiti quickly made his mark and was regarded as one of the best defenders in the world. Consistently excellent displays earned a bumper contract extension in 2018, although since then, he has been blighted with knee problems and hasn’t regained the same level of performance.
Due to being on a high wage and with two years left on his current deal, reports in Spain claimed that Barcelona offered to terminate Umtiti’s contract. Apparently, he rejected the compensation package offered and refuses to terminate his contract early. The 27-year-old has attracted interest from the Premier League, although no bids have yet been forthcoming.
Having already made an excellent impression with Nancy and Sevilla, there were no hesitations from Barcelona when they signed Clement Lenglet for €35 million in July 2018. Despite being red carded on his debut, the French defender has proven to be a solid addition at the Camp Nou over the last three seasons.
Unfortunately, reliable and consistent as he is, Lenglet is not indispensable and finds himself amongst the host of players open to offers. As part of their efforts to immediately reduce the wage bill, Barcelona aims to send Lenglet out on loan, albeit with an obligatory purchase clause. Premier League side West Ham United are said to be leading the chase.
Given the extensive clear-out currently in progress, despite the likelihood of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi renewing his terms, one exceptional player does not make a team. He is reaching the end of his illustrious career, yet the club is pulling out all the stops to ensure he stays. Some consider this to be a calculated risk, whilst others believe it could be a huge mistake.
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