De Jong? Eriksen? Barcelona switch transfer focus after Griezmann snub

Christian Eriksen Antoine Griezmann Frenkie De Jong
Having seen the Atletico Madrid striker decide to stay put, those at Camp Nou have opted to move away from goalscorers and towards creative influences

Signing Antoine Griezmann was never a necessity for Barcelona , more an opportunity that was too good to pass up as a proven performer hinted at throwing the exit doors open at Atletico Madrid.

With the France international having now taken the decision to remain in the Spanish capital , those at Camp Nou are aware that they are unlikely to find another forward of his ilk at a reasonable price in a market they unwittingly inflated with the sale of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.

As a result, those in Catalunya are shifting their focus in the summer transfer window.

With there already plenty of attacking quality in Ernesto Valverde’s squad, strengthening a midfield department which no longer boasts the reassuring presence of Andres Iniesta is considered to be a priority – along with landing a new right-back, despite the promising performances of Sergi Roberto in an unfamiliar role.

With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele and Paco Alcacer to call upon, Barca are looking for an addition which can free Philippe Coutinho from duty in wide areas and slip him into a more natural playmaking spot.

Dembele is expected to build on his return to form towards the end of the 2017-18 campaign while away with France at the World Cup finals in Russia, while Alcacer – who had been considered expendable at one stage amid the mounting Griezmann talk – is set to remain an important squad player and negate the need to find another forward.

With no Plan B in that department, Barca will instead be stepping up their efforts to land other long-standing targets.

Calls have been put in to Dutch giants Ajax regarding the possible availability of Frenkie de Jong, with the highly-rated 21-year-old midfielder having been sounded out prior to the Griezmann saga coming to a close.

That pursuit will now be ramped up.

Christian Eriksen Tottenham

Barca also have Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen in their sights , with the Dane having shown over a number of consistent seasons in England that he is a reliable performer on the grandest of domestic and European stages.

He would, however, not come cheap, with Spurs’ negotiations with Real Madrid back in 2013 ultimately landing them €100 million for Gareth Bale.

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There are funds available at Camp Nou, though, with the money saved on a potential Griezmann deal ready to be invested elsewhere.

It is also unlikely that part of that fund will go on bringing Thiago Alcantara back to the club from Bayern Munich, with there a desire to try and promote more of those who have been developed under Pep Segura in the famed La Masia academy system.

More details regarding Barca’s plans for the coming weeks and months are expected to be revealed once Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes are settled into new technical roles , with the due set to be presented next week as attention switches from the first recruitment disappointment of the summer.