Respected football journalist Graham Hunter believes Spanish giants Atletico Madrid may be forced to sell star forward Antoine Griezmann this summer, the Daily Express reports.
The France international has been billed as a top priority for Blues boss Jose Mourinho this summer, but Atletico aren’t thought to be prepared to allow him to leave for any less than the £45m release clause installed in his contract.
Reports broke earlier this week that the Blues are prepared to throw Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah as part of an exchange deal, but Hunter believes that Atleti’s dire financial position may force them to accept Chelsea’s offer, if and when it comes.
“Antoine Griezmann is exceptional and would set the Premier League alight,” Hunter said.
“He’s still young and last year he improved greatly under Diego Simeone.
“This is a real talent, quick and robust young footballer. The price will have to be extraordinary because neither Simone, or Atletico, want to let him go.
“Chelsea have the power to buy him though. If they go all in they have the power to take him from a club which is more than €500m (£350m) in debt and trying to pay for a new stadium.
“Griezmann is not pushing to get out, but the fact remains the economic power at Chelsea is such that, if they want him, they can prise him away.
“Atletico have already sighed signed two big strikers [Luciano Vietto and Jackson Martinez] maybe they are preparing for the inevitable?”
Griezmann spent five years at Real Sociedad before linking up with the side from the capital, and he further enhanced his reputation under Diego Simeone by smashing 25 goals in 43 appearances across all competitions.
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