- The forward has been linked with a $140 million move to FC Barcelona, joining the Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong whose $96 million move will be finalized in July.
- Barcelona is also close to completing a deal that will see de Jong's teammate Matthijs de Ligt join him at Camp Nou.
- The hat-trick of signings would cost Bara $326 million, but there is a very good reason why the club is so keen to splash the cash this summer.
- It has been completely humiliated in the UEFA Champions League for two successive seasons and is looking to banish those memories for good by making a statement of intent in the upcoming transfer market.
- If these players take Barcelona from kings of Spain to kings of Europe, it'll be money well spent.
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Antoine Griezmann is just one part of FC Barcelona's $326 million transfer plan as it attempts to banish its Champions League humiliation for good.
Barcelona won its 26th La Liga championship title last month and can add a cup trophy to its league win should the team beat Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25.
Bara, led by Lionel Messi, has been in exquisite form this season. Though Messi fractured his arm in October and was left battered, bruised, and bleeding after an overzealous challenge from a Manchester United player in April, his combined statistics in La Liga and Champions League competition has been extraordinary.
The 30-year-old has overcome 82 outright fouls to tally 48 goals and 16 assists in 37 starts. This is one goal scored or created for every 54 minutes he has played. Nobody in Europe's big leagues can match this. He has been in a league of his own all season long and is, by far, the best player on the planet right now according to Whoscored.com data .
But it is not just his productivity in front of goal that has generated headlines, it is the style and technique he has shown while doing so. He has toyed with defenders in Spain, produced moments of pure artistry on the pitch , and is so good some of the biggest stars in soccer are now saying he can no longer be compared to Cristiano Ronaldo .
But Messi's magnificence and a potential league and cup double for Barcelona are not good enough and it's all because the club has been humiliated in back-to-back Champions League seasons, a competition it is desperate to win after watching its closest and most bitter rival Real Madrid win three in a row from 2016 to 2018.
The Champions League is soccer's biggest club-level tournament, and one year after AS Roma embarrassed Barcelona in the 2018 quarterfinal, Liverpool FC mounted a stunning, four-goal comeback to dump Messi and Bara out of European competition in the semifinal on May 7.
To ensure that does not happen again, and that Barcelona is well-poised to win the Champions League next season, the club is in the middle of a $326 million spending spree.
It all began when Barcelona completed the $96 million purchase of the Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong in January, a move that will be finalized in July.
De Jong, just 22 years old, has been instrumental in the market-disrupting Ajax team this season because of his defensive acumen, his pin-point passing, and his vision in the heart of midfield.
But De Jong is not the only Ajax player Barcelona plans to raid as it also wants to sign his teammate, the 19-year-old leader Matthijs de Ligt.
De Ligt's formidable displays in the middle of defense belie his teenage years and he is already revered for his strength in the air, his soccer intelligence, and his considerable potential.
The soccer website Goal.com reports that Barcelona is just days away from adding de Ligt to its roster which, along with de Jong, will revolutionize the club's defensive abilities.
The club will be hoping that a de Jong and de Ligt double signing will be enough to spare it from suffering further devastating losses in the final moments of high pressure matches.
Forbes says a de Ligt deal will cost Bara $90 million, but speculates that this will prove to be a bargain.
This, together with de Jong, represents $186 million worth of business and is a considerable statement of intent in the summer market.
Griezmann could join de Ligt and de Jong at Bara
Barcelona's business may not end there as it wants a player to join Messi in attack and help shoulder the goalscoring burden. That player, according to The Guardian , MARCA , and Reuters , is Griezmann.
Griezmann, 28, shunned a move to Barcelona when he committed to a new five-year deal at Atletico last summer, but this week told the Madrid fans that he has "made the decision to leave." He added: "Thank you so much, and goodbye."
Barcelona is expected to pounce with a $140 million bid and, again, this could prove to be a bargain as it is far below the player's $165 million market valuation according to the CIES Football Observatory , a prominent sports think tank in Switzerland.
In total, this is $326 million of expenditure in one transfer window.
It may seem like a lot of money, but considering the ages and potential of the players bought, and the possibility of it taking Barcelona from the kings of Spain to the kings of Europe, it may well be money well spent.
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