Saudi Pro League transfers: Al-Ittihad to make move for Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann could be set to join the elite player exodus to Saudi Arabia, with Al-Ittihad determined to make him the latest A-list recruit to the Saudi Pro League, according to a report from Top Mercato.

It has been said that a megabucks salary package has been presented to the 32-year old which would see him team up with his compatriots Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante.

The feature from Ekrem Konur intimated that the Jeddah-based club have made  Griezmann their top priority to further strengthen their squad, which would herald another major acquisition from European football for a player who is still a key asset for Atletico Madrid. 

Kanté and Benzema’s presence at Al-Ittihad will be a temptation in itself for the player to join the side coached by former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, whilst a personal recommendation for the duo could further sway the 121 times-capped French international. 

The Saudi club appear keen for this inside track to be utilised in order to land their man, whilst the financial aspects of the deal will be no barrier to completion. 

Griezmann is said to have a release clause of €25 million to enable his departure from the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium but at the rate of money being spent in the SPL at present, that is the equivalent of finding a couple of pounds down the back of the sofa.

The $620 billion Public Investment Fund is the sovereign wealth asset of Saudi Arabia that has seen the transformation of the Middle-East state’s football league. 

A plethora of top-level players and coaches have made the switch, initiated by the trailblazing Cristiano Ronaldo, who swapped Manchester United for Al-Nassr back in January 2023.

antoine griezmann to al-ittihad
Photo by Anthony Bibard/FEP/Icon Sport

As for Antoine Griezmann, he has plenty to consider

At 32, Antoine Griezmann is still a key figure for Diego Simeone’s Atletico but will the lure of a new challenge and experience win him over? That will possibly be a secondary consideration to the massive bumper contract on offer (a purported 40 million Euros) that he will not receive from anywhere else at this stage of his career.

Last season, he returned 15 goals and 17 assists from 38 La Liga appearances. He is contracted in the Spanish capital until 2026, but all that could change quite soon. 

Standing in the way of the move will be Simeone as the one-time Barcelona player will be difficult to replace. He has also been strongly linked with a future move to play in the MLS so it will be very interesting to see what transpires in the coming weeks.

Griezmann won the 2018 World Cup in Russia with France and was a finalist in Qatar, in the last edition of the tournament.

He joined Atletico back in 2014, enjoying a successful spell personally over five years, that included a Europa League triumph in 2018.  A big-money move to Barcelona followed in 2019 but that didn’t work out for the player, nor the Catalan giants as he would return to Madrid within just two seasons.

After the recent acquisitions of the likes of Neymar, Jordan Henderson and Riyad Mahrez, Antoine Griezmann could be the latest elite football import to Saudi Arabia.

Experienced author and football writer Graeme Hanna, has an eternal passion for Rangers and is a long-term season ticket holder at the club.