“You want Lautaro?” the headline ran. “Give us Griezmann.”
The Gazzetta labelled it a “crazy idea” and no such proposal has been made – but, to the outsider, it wouldn’t have appeared so far-fetched.
As it stands, Inter would lose their dynamic 22-year-old forward Lautaro Martinez for ‘only’ €111 million (£97m/$121m) if Barca active the Argentine’s present buy-out clause, which expires on July 15.
At least by including Griezmann in a swap deal, the Nerazzurri would immediately secure a fine replacement, a World Cup winner with a point to prove. Indeed, the French forward would probably be open to a move.
Even before his protracted transfer to Camp Nou, Griezmann didn’t look a natural fit for Barcelona’s three-man attack. As he’s shown so often in the past for France and Atletico Madrid, he’s better playing off a more conventional No.9. Like Romelu Lukaku, for example…
Of course, Barca paid €120m (£105m/$131m) to sign Griezmann just last summer but do they really need him? Did they ever?
What Barca needed – and still need – is a successor for their 33-year-old first-choice centre-forward Luis Suarez. While Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak is considered an attractive ‘Plan B’, Lautaro looks better equipped than any other forward in world football to fill Suarez’s shoes and the Blaugrana are willing to offer the 22-year-old a contract worth €10m (£9m/$11m) a year.
So, a deal involving Griezmann would solve everyone’s problems, right? Perhaps, but nothing at Barcelona is quite so straightforward right now – not even a straight-swap deal.