Looking to get ahead of Chelsea FC, it seems Paris Saint-Germain have put in a £28.5 million bid to bring in Atletico Madrid’s star Antoine Griezmann.
According to the French press, the 24-year-old player’s contract has a £43 million buyout clause. As he was bought last summer for some £24 million (according to Sky Sports) by the champions of the 2013/2014 La Liga, extracting Griezmann after just one season out of the six in his contract should take more than the amount on offer.
Still, notwithstanding the transfer figures, assuming the reports of the French champions having put in a bid for Griezmann are correct, what might be driving PSG’s interest?
It’s not that the team is doing badly. As those who have been following their matches know well (you can get PSG tickets on this page) — last season PSG won a domestic treble but were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona (the eventual winners). One might argue the Parisians need some stability and a bit more luck going into their 2015/2016 campaign. Still, complacency is never wise at the high levels of world football.
PSG have many options for both wingers and centre-forwards, so it’s understandable why they’d try to lowball Atletico on their first bid. Between Zlatan Ibramovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, and more, the team has formational freedom — there must be more to the alleged PSG wager.
The PSG inquiry likely has something to do with the fact that Griezmann is French.
Though he’s played in Spain since 2005, Griezmann has played for France at nearly every level of competition (including the World Cup last year) and, next to Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba, to be the future of the French national team.
With Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic starting to finish their top flight careers (they are turning 31 and 34 respectively in the next season) PSG needs to find a new iconic, talismanic figure.
Griezmann has commercial appeal and plenty of on-pitch prowess: he scored 22 goals across 37 league appearances in the last year. This makes him an ideal target for PSG, a top-tier French football club with ambitions for the Champions League.
However, PSG aren’t alone. Chelsea is said to be watching Griezmann’s situation, even if Jose Mourinho has said his team won’t be pursuing Griezmann’s signature.
Regardless of how many clubs want Griezmann, unless someone meets his (reported) £43 million buyout threshold then Atletico Madrid holds all the power. The player would be a terrific addition to any club with Champions League ambitions, and it’s neither surprising nor shocking to see him linked after a fantastic 2014/2015 season.
He’s able to play as a wide-forward, a centre-forward, a central-attacking midfielder, or a winger. Griezmann has the pace, versatility, and clinical style needed for every competition in any league. While £43 million might seem inflated, that’s the whole point of a buyout clause: to keep away suitors, rather than to invite bids.
Still, Diego Simeone’s club have a reputation as sellers, and their recent transfer maneuvering has been brilliant. A £4.5 million boost wouldn’t necessarily be worth losing Griezmann’s output from their perspective. It’s likely PSG will have to increase their bid all the way up to the Frenchman’s clause.