KEY POINTS

  • Antoine Griezmann currently is Barcelona's highest earner
  • He scored 20 goals for Barca last season
  • He is contracted with Barca until 2024

FC Barcelona chief Joan Laporta Thursday opened up about the future of Antoine Griezmann, who is believed to be nearing his Camp Nou exit.

Laporta accepted "there is a market" for Griezmann amid the player’s links with Manchester City and former club Atletico Madrid, according to Goal.com.

Even though Griezmann is contracted with Barcelona until 2024, it has been reported that the Catalans are desperately looking to offload the French forward to reduce their wage bill. Lionel Messi recently accepted a major pay cut as a part of his new deal, making Griezmann the current highest earner at Camp Nou.

"Griezmann is a Barca player, he has a contract with the club until 2024 and, unless circumstances change, we are counting on him. There have been some movements on the market and we can't deny that there's been interest in him. That's a sign of his quality. It's a special market and you have to use your imagination, perhaps thinking in swap deals, but we value Antoine a lot. The club made a big investment in him and we are happy with him. It's not easy for a club to come in with an offer for a player at his level. But the transfer window is just getting started and there's a market for Griezmann," Laporta was quoted by Goal, as saying during the official unveiling of summer signing Memphis Depay Thursday.

The Catalans have made four signings in the 2021 summer market, but have not been able to register those players as yet due to the club's high salary bracket. The Blaugrana are yet to register Depay, Sergio Aguero, Emerson and Eric Garcia as they are trying to reduce their wage bill by around $236 million.

It has been reported that Griezmann is linked with a move to Manchester City as a swap deal that would land Raheem Sterling at Camp Nou.

"If things start moving, we're open to all proposals because we're in a delicate moment financially and we have to balance the books to comply with the league's financial fair play rules," Laporta said in the same press conference.

Antoine Griezmann celebrates with Lionel Messi after scoring a sensational chip against Villarreal on Sunday. Antoine Griezmann with Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba Photo: AFP / JOSE JORDAN

Griezmann, who joined Barcelona in 2019, was their best player after Messi last season. In 51 appearances across all competitions, the former Atletico forward netted 20 goals and provided 13 assists. He made significant contributions in their successful Copa del Rey campaign, scoring three goals and four assists.