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Barcelona held talks with Atletico Madrid for a like-for-like player swap on deadline day



Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Speaking on the Siempre Positivo podcast, journalist Toni Juanmarti has sensationally claimed that Atletico Madrid and Barcelona held talks over a swap deal involving Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann on the transfer deadline day. However, the Spanish striker declined the move.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are currently locked in a battle over Griezmann’s permanent buy clause, with the two clubs not seeing eye to eye on the conditions to be met to trigger the €40 million purchase obligation.

Atletico do not want to pay the entire sum and even reportedly offered a lower fee of €20 million to land the 31-year-old in the summer, which Barça swiftly rejected.

However, it seems that it was not the end of the Rojiblancos’ attempts at avoiding the payment of the fee. As reported by Toni Juanmarti, Atletico started talks with Barcelona to engineer a swap deal involving Griezmann and Morata.

The latter had been linked with a move to Barça since the January window, with manager Xavi understood to be an admirer. A transfer did not materialise back then as Morata was on loan at Juventus, with the Blaugrana eventually signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

However, when it became clear that Barcelona would sell Aubameyang and also consider parting ways with Memphis Depay over the summer, murmurs of a late move for Morata started doing the rounds yet again.

There had been speculations on the deadline day that a deal for the 29-year-old was in the works when Gerard Romero claimed that the club were working on a surprise signing.

Now, Juanmarti is reporting that talks were indeed held between Atletico and Barcelona over a possible exchange of strikers. However, Morata is said to have turned down the move to Spotify Camp Nou, putting an end to the negotiations.

While Aubameyang did leave Barcelona, Memphis has stayed put and is currently serving as the understudy to Robert Lewandowski. Meanwhile, having remained at Atletico Madrid, Morata has made a positive start to the campaign, bagging three goals in five La Liga games.

As for Griezmann, Atletico have been playing him for less than thirty minutes in each match this term to avoid activating the permanent purchase clause. A legal battle is looming between the two clubs over the Frenchman’s situation.

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