Atletico Madrid have offered Antoine Griezmann around €10 million more than Barcelona in a last-ditch bid to keep him at the club.
The 27-year-old France international meets up with his French team-mates on Wednesday with his future still — publicly at least — undecided.
Barcelona are sure a deal that has been in place since the tail-end of last year will still go through. But while there is silence from Griezmann they are nervous about a similar situation which happened last summer, when they believed they had signed Marco Verratti from PSG only for him to stay in France.
Barcelona are offering Griezmann around €15m net a season but Atletico Madrid are so desperate not to lose their most important player — and for a €100m buy-out clause fee that they see as ridiculously cheap by current market standards — that they have made him an offer that would make him the biggest earner in the club’s history by some distance.
His move to Barcelona is understood to be so far down the line that there would be financial penalties involved if he performs a U-turn but Atletico’s deal is so big he would be able to shoulder that particular financial burden.
A deal of around €25m is on the table. That represents a €10m increase on his projected Barcelona salary although Nou Camp bonuses would likely narrow the final difference significantly if he won trophies.
Barcelona cannot buy the player before July 1 when his buy-out officially drops to €100m from €200m but they were hoping Griezmann would publicly commit to them beforehand giving them the opportunity to negotiate with Atletico Madrid.
They don’t have to negotiate; they can simply deposit the €100m with the league but cutting a deal – and paying more in the long run – would enable them to pay in instalments.
Some Spanish media claimed at the weekend that Griezmann had decided to stay but changed his mind again when fans — unaware of his decision — booed him when he came on as a substitute.