By 90Min
September 19, 2017

Barcelona reportedly tried to sign Atletico Madrid stars Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann this summer during what was ultimately a disappointing transfer window for the Catalan giants.


Barça lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, were consistently rebuffed in their attempts to land Marco Verratti and Philippe Coutinho, while €105m new signing Ousmane Dembele isn't expected to play again until 2018 after sustaining a serious injury in only his third appearance.

And, according to Jose Ramon de la Morena from the Onda Cero network, Barça were keen on Saul and hoped to land the prized midfielder for €80m - the value of his buyout clause.

However, they encountered a problem when the 22-year-old committed his long-term future to Atletico with an astonishing new nine-year contract that will run to 2026. The buyout clause was also more than doubled to a reported €150m, ending Barça's interest there and then.

Yet rather than give up completely, it is said Camp Nou officials then turned their attention to Antoine Griezmann, another player it seemed had an agreeable buyout clause.

Barça were apparently willing to pay the €100m figure to release Griezmann from his contract, but again found themselves short as a new contract for the Frenchman stipulated that for this summer only the clause would double to €200m.

It was clause engineered to temporarily protect the club from poachers at a time when they were unable to sign new players while still serving a FIFA-imposed transfer ban.

CHRISTOPHE SIMON/GettyImages

Barça did still allegedly make an offer, but the €140m bid was rejected by Atletico.

Griezmann will be free to move for €100m next summer and there is the possibility that he could yet end up with Barcelona, but Saul seems destined to stay at Atletico for life.

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