With pre-season already upon us and the start of La Liga just five weeks away, Joan Laporta has a few massive decisions to make, not least whether the likes of Antoine Griezmann should be dispensed with or not.
The Frenchman certainly hasn’t helped his cause with the recent uncovering of a video where he and Ousmane Dembele are purported to be making racist comments and gestures.
Notwithstanding that error of judgement, the Frenchman has blown hot and cold during his time at Barcelona.
In some games he has undoubtedly been the best player and match winner, in others he’s gone missing.
Given his profile and the amount of money the Blaugranes had to part with to secure his services, it’s not unfair to expect him to be providing much more value for money.
Now that the financial goalposts have moved significantly, there’s also a cogent argument that this could be the right time to sell.
The club will not get back anywhere close to what they paid for Griezmann, but they will save a huge amount on wages, and if the priority is to keep Lionel Messi at all costs, then it’s a deal that Joan Laporta has to try and aim for.
Various rumours place him at Manchester City, Atletico Madrid and one or two other high-profile clubs but at this stage that’s all they are. Rumours.
It’s not clear if the player himself is open to a move elsewhere either, though there would be significant cachet for him to return to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Diego Simeone is bound to be interested if there’s a chance of Griezmann returning to Madrid, and at least both know what to expect should he move.
Importantly for Laporta and Ronald Koeman, in the grand scheme of things Griezmann’s position can be adequately covered.
It isn’t clear just how much more money the board need to save in order to register Messi and any other playing staff, though it would be accepted that by cashing in their chips on Griezmann, the situation would become quite a bit healthier.
The only possible downside is if there isn’t any willingness on his part to become a pawn in this particular game.
Perhaps, just as the club appear to have done with his countryman, Samuel Umtiti, it needs to be made crystal clear to Griezmann that he has no future at the Camp Nou.
It’s high risk, but Barca’s current predicament dictates that an element of risk is a worthwhile strategy.