A vintage weekend for Silly Season as the lack of proper football action around Europe has resulted in a trifecta of (dubious) stories (from equally dubious and silly sources) looking to one-up each other in outrageousness.
First up, Atlético Madrid's Antoine Griezmann. The 24-year-old Frenchman is certainly in demand, and while Atlético seem confident of being able to keep him past this season, most are expecting a change of scenery for the wing-forward. He will not come cheap of course, but according to the Express, we're trying to negotiate a deal for something below the player's buyout price. Our opening bid is supposedly £40m. That's probably not going to get it done.
Fortunately, Chelsea should be able to loosen the purse strings if needed. And if the new hotness that is Griezmann won't do it, maybe we'd do it for a tiring old soldier like Cristiano Ronaldo? As I understand, he's not too bad at this whole goal-scoring business with which we seem to have so much trouble lately. Here's The Sun claiming that Real Madrid would be willing to let their star man go back to England for the same exact price (not accounting for inflation) for which he arrived, £80m. Manchester United are supposedly interested as well, and we can safely assume they'll be splashing plenty of cash this summer and maybe even January as well.
Though maybe if United blow their budget on Cristiano, we swoop for the next best thing (or the best thing, depending on where you stand in this debate), and tempt Lionel Messi away from Barcelona. The Express claim that cool £18m/season salary (after taxes!) should do it. That's £600,000 per week (before taxes), or roughly three times as much as our highest wage-earner, Eden Hazard, makes currently. Add-in the €250m release clause, and we're practically scraping the bottom of the bargain bin for Messi.
In summary, thanks, Silly Season. Keep on being silly!