Antoine Griezmann was reportedly offered as part of a swap deal with Joao Felix, although both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid could not agree on the details of the agreement.
Both players completed mega moves last summer, with Griezmann signing for Barcelona after his release clause of €120m was triggered and Atletico subsequently signed Joao Felix for the sum of €126m from Portuguese side Benfica.
The 20-year-old had a breakthrough season with The Eagles in the 2018-19 season, scoring 20 goals from 43 matches in all competitions to help Benfica lift the Primeira Liga title and for his efforts, he was named the 2019 Golden Boy.
He, however, struggled to replicate this form with Atletico Madrid and a combination of injuries and loss of form saw him score just nine goals in his debut season in Spain.
Things were hardly better for the man he replaced, with Antoine Griezmann looking out of sorts at Barcelona, despite cementing his status as one of the best forwards in the world with his displays across five years in the Spanish capital.
Under Diego Simeone’s management, the French international blossomed at Atletico Madrid and scored at least 20 goals in each of the five seasons he spent with Los Colchoneros. This is a far cry from the player who looked short of confidence and scored just 15 goals in 48 matches for Barcelona.
Underwhelming debut season for Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid interested
Reports have emerged that Atletico are keen on bringing him back to the Wanda Metropolitano, as they have struggled for goals since his departure, with misfiring forwards contributing to their underwhelming campaign last season.
The Barcelona board attempted to capitalize on this by offering the 29-year-old as part of a swap with Joao Felix, with Bartomeu reportedly having the discussions in the immediate aftermath of the 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
That match had far-reaching consequences for the Catalan side, with Quique Setien sacked not long after and replaced with the appointment of former captain Ronald Koeman, who has stated that some players are unwanted at the club while opening the door to a return for Philippe Coutinho.
There was further upheaval for the Camp Nou outfit when Lionel Messi told the club he wants to leave for free and there are a number of clubs who have signified interest in signing the Argentine magician.
Although there are contrasting reports over who initiated talks of a swap deal and who rejected the proposal, strong reports suggest that it was Barcelona who suggested the arrangement, as they seek to cut down on their wage bill in light of the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Cup winner earns fives times as much as the Portuguese international but Atletico are unwilling to let their precocious youngster leave and are convinced he would still justify his huge transfer fee.
They, however, suggested a return for Antoine Griezmann, in exchange for other players (including Diego Costa and Thomas Lemar) but excluding Felix, however, Barcelona immediately rejected this new proposal.