Although a deal is yet to be finalised, if multiple reports are to be believed then both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are trying to construct a swap deal involving Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez.
Whilst it’s clear that the Catalans have to get some wages off of the books, and to that end it puts Griezmann at risk in any event, is swapping him for Saul really what Barca need?
Ostensibly a midfielder, he’s often filled in in defence for the Rojiblancos, and it could be argued he hasn’t been close to his best for some while now. In either position.
Combative and competitive, at just 26 years of age, his potential hire isn’t a punt, but nor does it seem to be a signing that makes a lot of sense - unless the club are looking at him as a potential Sergio Busquets replacement.
He can play as a defensive midfielder but is more useful as an attacking midfielder on the left side.
Does Ronald Koeman therefore tweak his rotation options to give Saul enough game time to make a switch worthwhile for the blaugranes?
Griezmann, for all of the noise as to how he’s never been a Barcelona type player, has shone brightly in more games than he’s been given credit for and his work ethic has never been in question.
He could’ve done with scoring a few more goals, yes, but he was never brought in to be a true number nine.
In the interests of not wanting to make a direct rival stronger - just 12 months after Luis Suarez was allowed to tread the same path - do Barca really want to tempt fate by handing Griezmann over on a plate for Atleti?
Diego Simeone will arguably get more out of him than Ronald Koeman or Quique Setien ever managed to.
Perhaps what’s going on behind the scenes from a financial standpoint is what’s driving this. Certainly from Barca’s perspective in any event.
Maybe the race storm that recently reared its ugly head even has something to do with it.
Whatever the truth, Joan Laporta has come in and is making good on his promises at least.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if his overriding desire is to leave the club in a better position than when he found it, as seems the case, then his judgment at this stage is the only one that really matters.
In Laporta, Barca trust.