- Barcelona will swoop for Antoine Griezmann next summer in €100m deal
- However, Philippe Coutinho remains the priority in January for the Catalan giants
- Balague has doubts over Coutinho deal
- READ MORE: ‘In the future, we’ll see’ – Barcelona boss coy on potential €100m target
Barcelona have made quite the start to the season, but speculation of reinforcements arriving for Ernesto Valverde continues to spread.
The Catalan giants are leading the way in La Liga as well as their Champions League group, and so the hierarchy will be content with what they’ve seen thus far.
As with any club around Europe though, there are still weaknesses to be addressed, with Valverde having individuals that are arguably surplus to requirements to ship out in favour of bringing in key pieces to further strengthen the squad and ensuring that they can compete on various fronts for years to come.
That’s what seems to be the strategy as Guillem Balague believes that Barcelona are ready to land Antoine Griezmann’s signature next summer, with the Atletico Madrid and France forward establishing himself as one of the top players in Europe in recent years.
The 26-year-old has 19 goals in 49 caps for France, while he’s bagged 86 goals in 173 outings for Atleti in all competitions since joining the club from Real Sociedad in 2014.
However, Barcelona will still go for Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho in January first, as per Balague.
“Given the opportunity to go to Barcelona, he would certainly consider it. He knows that Barcelona have approached his representatives and would put down €100m on July 1,” Balague noted in a Sky Sports Q&A.
“They are going to try and get Philippe Coutinho in January first. I do, however, think that it is unlikely he will move to the Camp Nou, which would make Griezmann the priority in the summer.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Coutinho arrives after a summer-long saga in which Barcelona couldn’t reach an agreement with Liverpool on a transfer fee, with BBC Sport noting that three separate bids were rejected by the Reds.
There doesn’t seem to be too much to suggest that the situation will change in January, but time will tell if they’re successful in the New Year.
What is clear though is that with Andres Iniesta turning 34 next year, and with Luis Suarez struggling so far this season with just three goals in 14 appearances, those are two key positions in particular that may need to be addressed, with Coutinho and Griezmann capable of doing so while also lowering the average age of the squad to give Barca a longer-time picture.
That’s not to suggest that the current stalwarts don’t still have plenty left to offer, but as evidenced with the signings of Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele this past summer, Barca know that they must look to the future too.