Atleti in advanced talks with Barca over Saul/Griezmann swap deal

Following on from Anfield Central’s update on the matter yesterday, Fabrizio Romano confirms that advanced talks have been held for a swap deal for Saul and Griezmann.

After reaching out to a contact well-versed with the goings-on in La Liga, Anfield Central was told that talks had been held between Barcelona and Atleti.

SEVILLE, SPAIN - JANUARY 17: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona looks on during the Supercopa de Espana Final match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club at Estadio de La Cartuja on January 17, 2021 in Seville, Spain.
SEVILLE, SPAIN – JANUARY 17: Antoine Griezmann of FC Barcelona looks on during the Supercopa de Espana Final match between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club at Estadio de La Cartuja on January 17, 2021 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

We were told there was the ‘potential’ for a swap but it depended on Griezmann’s willingness to take a pay cut to re-join Atletico Madrid, who have wage-bill concerns of their own.

Green light given after advanced talks held

Our enquiry was made in the morning but at 18:15, it was reported by Fabrizio Romano that a major step was taken towards a swap deal being agreed.

He took to Twitter to say: “Barcelona and Atletico are in advanced talks for swap deal between Saul and Griezmann!

“Both players gave the green light in the last hours and Barça/Atléti now negotiating on price tags. Barça want money included.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 26: Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid Celebrates 1-0 during the La Liga Santander match between Atletico Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on October 26, 2019 in Madrid Spain.
MADRID, SPAIN – OCTOBER 26: Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid Celebrates 1-0 during the La Liga Santander match between Atletico Madrid v Athletic de Bilbao at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on October 26, 2019 in Madrid Spain. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

“Liverpool and Chelsea keen on Saul if deal will collapse.”

Liverpool tabled €40m plus bonuses bid

The same source that told Anfield Central that talks were underway between Barcelona and Atletico over a swap deal says Liverpool made a €40m plus add-ons offer for Saul.

This was rejected by Atletico as they want €50m all cash but Liverpool have left their offer on the table in the event that the plug is pulled on an arrangement with Barcelona.

Chelsea are also interested but they are yet to make a move.

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC at Wanda Metropolitano on February 18, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.
MADRID, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 18: Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Atletico Madrid and Liverpool FC at Wanda Metropolitano on February 18, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

As things stand, the Catalonians are in the driving seat to sign Saul.

Where do we stand on Liverpool and Saul?

The fact that Liverpool briefed the local media that they weren’t interested in the Spaniard at all speaks volumes.

Liverpool Echo journalist David Lynch, speaking to LFCSCN, boldly claimed that there was never any interest in the player from the Reds.

It may be true that they have stepped back as a consequence of Barcelona’s advanced negotiations to sign Saul or that they have moved on to a different target.

VALLADOLID, SPAIN - MAY 22: Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates winning the La Liga Santander title after victory the La Liga Santander match between Real Valladolid CF and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla on May 22, 2021 in Valladolid, Spain.
VALLADOLID, SPAIN – MAY 22: Saul Niguez of Atletico de Madrid celebrates winning the La Liga Santander title after victory the La Liga Santander match between Real Valladolid CF and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla on May 22, 2021 in Valladolid, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

That said, there is no denying that interest existed for at least a few weeks.

Liverpool are very good at keeping a tight lid on info coming out of the club on their end but they have little to no control on what the player, his agent or the club they’re negotiating with leaks to the media.

The fact is that news of Liverpool’s interest in Saul has been circulating in Spain for weeks but it does seem as though it’s reached an unfortunate end.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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