It has been confirmed today that Antoine Griezmann will be leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of the Spanish season and will almost certainly sign for Barcelona and in some quarters that is being seen as bad news for Arsenal.
The thinking behind this is that it means Atletico will then target Alexandre Lacazette as Griezmann’s direct replacement, however, I am not convinced by that all and in fact, I see it as totally opposite and believe that it could be good news for us.
The reasons I am not convinced that Lacazette will be bound for Atletico are numerous. For starters, Arsenal has shown no inclination they want to sell the Frenchman, additionally Lacazette seems very content with us and is on the verge of being offered a huge wage increase and finally, I have not yet come across any firm evidence that Atletico is actually interested other than unfounded rumours.
The reason I believe it could be good news for us is simple, money.
Barcelona have to sell to raise funds to be able to pay the reported release clause of £105 Million, they have to abide by financial fair play and are already committed to spending £65 Million for Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong and are reported to be close to signing de Jong’s teammate Matthijs de Ligt, who would also cost £65 Million.
That sort of outlay means that Barcelona will be desperate to offload the likes of Phillipe Coutinho and defender Samuel Umtiti and it is the latter that is of huge interest to us.
We have long been linked with a move for Umtiti and he will almost certainly be sold by Barca, especially if they do sign de Ligt.
So, while some will put two and two together and come up with five and assume that because Barcelona have bought Griezmann that Atletico will automatically come after Lacazette I am far more inclined to look at the situation logically and deduce that Barca must sell and that one of those sold will be Umtiti who Arsenal are reportedly keen on signing.