A new era. On March 7, Joan Laporta was officially appointed president of FC Barcelona. Even before being elected, the new club boss promised to put the ship abutment afloat while trying to extend Lionel Messi. What the old management had failed to do, with which La Pulga disagreed. His relations with the technical secretary, Eric Abidal, were also strained according to the Iberian press.
Appointed to this post in June 2018, the Frenchman left his post in August 2020, after the rout against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in Final 8. For about two years, “Abi” worked on the recruitment of the Blaugranas, relying in particular on a few French players. Among them, Antoine Griezmann (30 years old). Very close to the club in 2018, he finally stayed at Atlético de Madrid, announcing his choice in the documentary “Decision“. Which had not pleased the Catalan locker room.
Griezmann, a big sale or a bargaining chip
A year later, in the summer of 2019, Grizi took the plunge for Barcelona for a check for € 120m. Two years later, the new management wants to get rid of the 2018 world champion. The idea is in particular to get rid of his impressive salary in order to facilitate the extension of Lionel Messi. Under contract until 2024, Griezmann was not necessarily for a departure. Only a return to Atlético de Madrid was possible on his side. Especially since Simeone and the executives were not against.
An exchange with Saul Niguez was therefore proposed. But in the end, it fell, for the moment, into the water, Barça feeling aggrieved. After trying their luck with Juventus, the Catalans are aiming for the Premier League. If Chelsea and Man Utd are visibly out of the race, Manchester City are in favor of Barça, who would like to recover in the deal Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte or Riyad Mahrez according to Catalunya Radio. But this file is not really moving forward for the moment.
Bad times for the French
Another player recruited during the Abidal era, Clément Lenglet (26) could also be sacrificed. Arrived from Seville in 2018 for 35.9 M €, the international tricolor quickly impressed and climbed the ranks, sending Samuel Umtiti on the bench. But between President Laporta, who wants to replenish the funds, and the arrival of Eric Garcia, the former Nancy does not enter into the plans of the club. However, Mundo Deportivo ensures that the player under contract until 2026 wants to stay and win.
In the Premier League, however, Everton and West Ham would like to get him back. Samuel Umtiti (27) experiences the same treatment. Unlike the two players mentioned above and Jean-Clair Tobido, who was sold to Nice, the former OL was not recruited during Abidal’s tenure. In 2016, it was snatched from Lyon for € 25 million. Very quickly, he started alongside Gerard Piqué. The future looked bright for him. But after the 2018 World Cup, he had a series of physical problems.
Pressure on Ousmane Dembélé
Lenglet’s arrival has not helped matters. Little used, it is now pushed out. A sale seems complicated for an item that has been betrayed by his body. Barça tried to get him on loan, especially at OM. A return to OL was mentioned without this being confirmed by the Gones. But that does not jostle for the player under contract until 2023. His teammate Ousmane Dembélé (24 years old), too, has often passed through the infirmary box. He is still there now.
Hit against Hungary during Euro 2020 (June 19) and operated in the wake (4 months of absence), he derailed the plans of the FCB, which had already planned its sale this summer. In a delicate situation, the Catalans, who bought him € 105m in 2017 from BVB, have now changed their strategy. The goal is to have it extended since his lease ends in 2022. If the Frenchman refuses, Sport ensures that on his return from injury he will be sent to the stands and will never play in the Catalan jersey again. After betting on the French sector, Barça no longer wants it. The times are changing…