Griezmann, de Ligt and Neymar are toying with Barcelona

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What an important season coming up in La Liga it will be for Barcelona as their main rivals Real Madrid are showing their intent to be back. While Madrid splash the clash on the likes of Eden Hazard- Barcelona have yet to bring in a superstar player to rival that.

True Barca now have Ajax talent Frenkie de Jong but that deal for a reported 75m euros was actually concluded at the beginning of the year. Of course it’s not that Barca have been quiet because they have actually been very vocal in bringing in more quality names have been mentioned but it seems that some star players are actually toying with the club and showing a lack of respect.

The biggest of these seems to be Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt a brilliant prospect for defence. Barcelona showed their interest and the fact that they now have his team mate de Jong the deal seemed set in motion for the outstanding 19 year old. And who wouldn’t want that opportunity at such a young age? The problem is that just when it looked like de Ligt would say yes to Barca, PSG came in and offered the player 400,000 euros a week to play for them and everything has now stalled as de Ligt wonders about that amount of insane cash. Barcelona might be the bigger team than PSG but it is questionable that they would pay that type of salary to a teenager. So de Ligt is now making them wait on an answer.

Then there is the case of Antoine Griezmann so loyal at Atletico Madrid. It’s no secret that Barcelona have been after the French international for some time. They came close last season, but Griezmann was unsure if he wanted to play second fiddle to Lionel Messi. Also he wanted to respect his club because they had a transfer ban and he thought the timing would have been wrong to leave the club who wouldn’t have been able to replace him.

It is also no secret though that Griezmann wants to win the Balon D’or, and he will realise doing so in a Barca shirt may just give him a better advantage. But like de Ligt he is making Barca wait for a decision. What is the delay in reality- there are no major summer European competitions. Either say yes or no.

Finally there is the story of Neymar, who of course was a Barcelona player two season ago before his shock move to PSG in a deal that made the transfer the biggest in footballing history at a reported 200m euros. Neymar is giving all of the body language that he wants out of Paris and wants a return to Barcelona, even though he has been linked to another shock switch to rivals Real Madrid. It is thought though that only Barcelona is on his mind.

But just how are Barcelona going to afford all of these proposed deals? Well that is where Phillipe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele come in. Here we have two players who have failed to live up to expectations and have cost Barca over 200m euros to buy. Good players, wrong club to summarise, and it feels inevitable that both could be sold this summer albeit at a cut price to make way for any of the above players.

What is sure is that Barca must strike big in the transfer market this summer if they want to hold off what will be a huge challenge from Real Madrid this season, and then, of course there is the case of the Champions League, a trophy that Messi desperately wants to win for a 5th time.

Four possible summer transfers for Barcelona

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There’s still three weeks to go before the summer transfer window officially opens, but that hasn’t stopped all of the major European clubs either announcing deals or positioning themselves to do so as soon as it hits midnight on June 30.

Barcelona have already secured Frenkie De Jong from Ajax, and after a string of world class performances since the announcement was made, it already looks like the Catalans are getting a bargain, and a player who is ready made for their midfield.

He won’t be the only new player to ply his trade at the Camp Nou next season, however, so let’s take a look at four more who are being rumoured to be wearing Blaugrana in 2019/20. Continue reading

Do Barcelona really need Antoine Griezmann?

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Only a year ago, Antoine Griezmann was making a real song and dance about not going to FC Barcelona.

With the hope of winning trophies at Atletico Madrid now virtually evaporated, the Frenchman has shown the true meaning of his loyalty – by jumping ship at the first opportunity after being awarded a record-breaking deal.

And where should he decide he wants to end up? The same team he made every effort not to join during the last summer window. Continue reading

Simeone to splash the cash in Atletico Madrid rebuilding project

Simeone

The La Liga Big Three look set for major changes this summer, with defending champions FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid all in line to make big moves in the transfer market.

Ernesto Valverde will look to add to the signing of Frenkie De Jong, with one or two big names, as he looks to ease the growing pressure on his position, while Zinedine Zidane has been essentially offered an open cheque book by club president Florentino Perez as he looks to make Los Blancos competitive again.

However, across the Spanish capital, Diego Simeone faces the biggest rebuilding challenge of his managerial career ahead of the 2019-20 season.

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Griezmann to FC Barcelona rumours could last all summer

Antoine Griezmann

Every summer – particularly those without an international tournament – are dominated by transfer speculation, and Antoine Griezmann’s La Liga switch from Atletico Madrid to FC Barcelona is the 2019 edition.

A potential move from the Wanda Metropolitano to the Camp Nou for the Frenchman last summer never materialised after he opted to remain in the capital – and release that video.

He has since confirmed in another video – a shorter one this time – that he would be seeking to leave Los Rojiblancos before the start of the 2019-20 campaign, despite signing a new contract before the 2018 World Cup.

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Atletico Madrid in the market for attacking options

Antoine Griezmann

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is set for a busy summer in the transfer market, with the biggest exodus of his time in charge in La Liga, expected in the coming months.

The Argentinian is set to remodel his side for 2019-20, with experienced players moving on and uncertainty surrounding other players in the squad.

Defenders Diego Godin and Filipe Luis look increasingly likely to leave in the summer, when their contracts expire at the Wanda Metropolitano.

That means defensive reinforcements are a priority, in particular a replacement for Godin, who has been central throughout Simeone’s time in charge.

There are doubts over the futures of Saul Niguez and Rodri, with Manchester City interested in both midfielders – however Simeone is unlikely to let either leave, having worked so hard to keep them away from Barcelona in the past 12 months.

The main issue, alongside Godin, could be finding a fresh attacker to partner Antoine Griezmann.

The French international has committed his own future to the club, after another round of speculation linking him with Barcelona.

However, the club are looking to part ways with controversial striker Diego Costa, after he received a eight game following a red card against Barcleona earlier this month.

Simeone has been standoffish on the subject, claiming the Spanish international deserved to be punished, but remained ambiguous as to whether or not he was actually guilty.

The club’s hierarchy appear to have now lost patience, and want to move Costa on, and are willing to take a cut price offer for the former Chelsea man.

Gelson Martins is set to make his loan move to Monaco a permanent one at the end of the season, with Luciano Vietto set to head off to Portugal as a makeweight in the deal.

Alvaro Morata’s loan looks set to stand, with Chelsea’s attempts to recall him early due to their transfer ban, set to be rebuffed by FIFA – however he could go back to London at the end of the 2019-20 season.

That leaves just Griezmann, Morata and Nikola Kalinic, who has also been linked with an exit, as Simeone’s only strikers, unless he can make a move.

Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi could be the ideal fit to replace Costa, and act as a foil for Griezmann, however Simeone will have to battle Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to bring the Argentinian international in.

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Atletico Madrid chalk up another win thanks to impenetrable defence

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid clawed two points back in what many consider to be a non-event of a title race last weekend.

Diego Simeone’s side’s dominant performance was, once again, underpinned by a solid defensive set-up with one of the best goalkeepers in the world between the sticks.

Jan Oblak oversaw proceedings from his own penalty area and was on hand to provide some guidance to the inexperienced centre-back pairing of Francisco Montero and Antonio Moya Vega in front of him. Montero and Moya Vega have a combined age of 41. Continue reading

Atletico Madrid preparing for summer transfer overhaul

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid are set for a transfer shake up this summer, with the La Liga side preparing for a number of arrivals and departures from the Wanda Metropolitano in the coming weeks.

Diego Simeone will have his work cut out to keep some of his star names, with Los Rojiblancos set to end the season empty handed for another year, and the vultures will be circling over the Spanish capital.

French international Antoine Griezmann has confirmed that he will be remaining with the club, which has put an end to another potential summer of transfer speculation over a move to Barcelona.

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Fantasy La Liga picks for the coming weekend

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As we gear up for another action-packed weekend in La Liga, I take you through my suggestions for the top fantasy football picks in Spanish football.

In the defensive third this weekend, it’s difficult to look past Athletic Bilbao players as the team from the Basque Country have kept two clean sheets in a row and three in their last four league games, including a 0-0 draw at home to the mighty Barcelona.

Not only that, but Bilbao are at home to Eibar who have only won one away game all season while only scoring nine goals on their travels in La Liga.

Goalkeeper – Iago Herrerin (Athletic Bilbao) – 5.0 million

In goals, I’ve opted for Bilbao’s Iago Herrerin as it’s very possible another clean sheet is on the cards for his side. Herrerin is currently valued at 5.0 million and has a total of 40 points so far.

Alvaro Morata’s Atletico Madrid move stalls

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Alvaro Morata’s move to La Liga title challengers Atletico Madrid is yet to be completed, with both sides saying they are still some way off an agreement for the 26 year-old.

The Spanish international looks certain to end his stay in West London, but time is running out ahead of the closing of winter transfer window at the end of January.

Atletico have confirmed that they are interested in bringing Morata back to Madrid, where he spent five years at rivals Real Madrid, across two separate spells, however manager Diego Simeone confirmed that nothing is yet agreed between them.

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