Griezmann, during the past season against Valencia.Alberto Saiz / AP

With the water to the neck to meet the Financial Fair Play, Barça makes balances and tinkering wherever it can. The signings are at zero cost and after getting Messi to reduce his salary by 50% in his renewal, the club is busy reducing the salary mass. “We trust that it is the example. If the best in the world does it…. ”, They expose from the offices of the Barcelona sports city. The club is in talks with Alba, Piqué, Sergi Roberto and Busquets, at the moment generally predisposed to help although with nuances, especially Alba. “We have to make a financial reduction for the moment in which we are”, recognized Joan Laporta in the presentation in society of Memphis Depay. And the key to relief is Antoine Griezmann.

Signed two years ago for 120 million, the Frenchman is eager to return to Atlético. Simeone and the mattress club also want it, which is willing to negotiate an exchange for Saúl, since they have already warned that João Félix does not touch himself. But assuming Griezmann’s record – between 25-30 million euros per year – is something that Atlético is not willing to do at the moment. “That is non-negotiable,” they point out from the Camp Nou. Laporta was open to dialogue: “If the market moves along this line (Griezmann for Saúl), we are open to everything because we are in a delicate moment. We are looking for agreements with the players. We are doing these balances that must be done. We are open to studying everything, but none of them is going to harm having a competitive team ”, agreed the Barça president. The director of the sports area, Mateu Alemany, added: “We value Antoine very much. Is level top, we are happy with it. There is not much scope to propose exchanges. We are willing to listen to situations, but it will not be easy for a club to come with an important offer that will convince us to get rid of such a player. Situations have been taken for granted that I hadn’t even considered ”.

It is, in any case, Griezmann the desired operation because they still have 72 million to write off and if they sold it for about 100 they would earn about 30. It remains to be seen whether or not it is a dead end with Atlético. But Griezmann already knows that Laporta and Barça open the door for him.

Memphis: “I would have signed without Koeman”

Dressed in a gray suit, half a beard and round sunglasses, Memphis Depay (Moordrecht, Netherlands, 27 years old) got out of his Roll-Royce in the Camp Nou parking lot. It was not just any ordinary afternoon, as the player signed as a new Barcelona footballer – even though he had been training with the group for three days – to later be presented in society. “I played here in the Champions League with PSV and we lost 5 to 1. After that day, I kept working and working … And now I’m here, now is the time for me to show the Barça fans,” said the attacker, who arrives free to Barça after leaving Olympique de Lyon on June 30 and that, like the other incorporations, his contract is based on many incentives due to the delicate economic situation that the Barça club is going through. His release clause is 500 million. Joan Laporta, Barça president, was clear about it: “He has a lot of personality on and off the pitch. We need this type of player to give more strength to the first team ”.

Depay, in his presentation with Barcelona.
Depay, in his presentation with Barcelona.Quique García / EFE

“It is an honor to be a Barcelona player, a dream come true since I was little. This is a huge club that had a great impact when I was a child and now I have the opportunity to play here, “he said in a hackneyed but not really lacking speech. Laporta revealed: “Your mother told me that when you turned five your grandfather gave you a Barça shirt and told you that one day you would play here.” Memphis [quiere que le llamen así porque su padre les abandonó cuando era niño] the witness picked up: “A little prophecy. Now he’s not with us, but I’m sure he would be proud ”. Memphis was a request from Koeman that was tried during the summer market of the previous year but did not reach this due to the economic difficulties. “Although we all wanted to, it couldn’t be,” acknowledged the Dutchman. But it is not a whim of the coach, because when he directed him in the selection he uncorked the best version of the footballer. More than anything because they shared 18 games in which the forward scored 11 goals and gave 12 assists. “Yes, I would have played for Barça if Koeman hadn’t continued. You cannot say no to Barça. But that Koeman has had a major impact is obvious … He played on the left and put me in the center and it worked.

The question, in any case, is whether he will adapt to the movements of Messi, the Barça epicenter, the player around whom the Barça offensive moves. Memphis works better when it feels like a protagonist, as has happened in Lyon and PSV Eindhoven, than if it is part of the team, as happened with Manchester United (2015-2017). Memphis doesn’t care. “Playing with Messi is a dream. I’ve seen all of your matches. He is a legend, the best in the world… I really want to play with him because I am a fervent admirer of his. But it is clear that I will have to do my thing to help ”, agreed the forward. The Barça era of Memphis begins.

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