FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are believed to be cooking up a transfer swap this summer involving Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez. The transfer has not yet been confirmed, but it is now believed that La Liga Santander will be keeping close watch over the deal.
Despite the transfer agreement being called a "player swap," this is not actually done in Spain like a barter trade. Basically, both teams still need to make accurate valuations of their players, and those amounts need to be adequately met by both sides before the swap can push through.
With FC Barcelona becoming increasingly desperate to offload Griezmann and take his massive salary off their wage bill for next season, La Liga wants to make sure that there will be no "tricks" when it comes to the accounting around the transfer.
According to reports by Spanish media outlets Radio MARCA and El Partidazo de COPE, Griezmann is expected to be valued upwards of 72 million euros. If he is sold for less than that amount, Barcelona are effectively selling at a loss. Niguez is not worth as much, despite being part of last season's La Liga-winning squad. The values of the two players are not proportionate, but Barcelona has other problems to worry about.
Even if they are effectively letting go of Griezmann at a loss, they need to make the deal happen to free up space in their salary cap for next season. This is the only way they can re-sign Lionel Messi, even though the Argentine has reportedly already agreed to a 50% pay cut.
If the club is unable to slash their wage bill, not only will the Catalan giants be unable to sign Messi, they also wont be able to register other new signings like Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
Barcelona did not want to let Griezmann return to his former club after they were burned by the Luis Suarez transfer last year. They let go of the Uruguay international and sent him off to their rivals, only for him to become instrumental in helping Atletico win the La Liga trophy. But now, they have become more open to the idea if it helps expedite their mission of shipping off valuable players with massive salaries.
If the Griezmann deal pushes through, Barcelona will not be out of the woods yet. They will still need to free up over a hundred million euros before they can finally re-sign Messi.