Atletico Madrid playing hardball for Memphis Depay

Memphis Depay during the match between Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona at the Estadio Civitas Metropolitano on January 8, 2023 in Madrid Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

We may very well have a transfer saga on our hands involving Barcelona and Atletico Madrid over Memphis Depay.

Los Colchoneros are looking for a replacement for Joao Felix — who they offloaded to Chelsea on loan. Among the handful of candidates, they have identified, and seemingly prioritized, the Dutch international.

However, Atletico Madrid neither want to pay a steep price for Memphis nor do they want to include players in a potential operation.

Barcelona were reportedly interested in Yannick Carrasco and would approve of a player swap. But Atletico don’t want to lose the Belgian forward and instead are willing to wait things out and try to force Barcelona’s hand. They’re banking that Memphis’ desire to stay in play will end up working to their advantage.

The relationship between the two clubs is frosty at best given the Antoine Griezmann saga. Atletico Madrid were none too happy with the way things went down when the Frenchman left to join Barcelona despite the hefty transfer fee the Catalans paid.

Barcelona, on the other hand, were displeased with Atletico’s blatant tactic to try avoid paying the €40 million they would have had to if Griezmann played a certain number of minutes. Therefore, they limited him to roughly 30 minutes a match. In the end, an agreement was reached but it left a sour taste in Barcelona’s mouth.

So it should come as no surprise that neither side is budging at the moment. Atletico Madrid are also willing until the summer when they can get Memphis on a free as his current deal runs out at the end of the season. Barcelona wouldn’t be opposed as the last thing they want to do is strengthen a direct rival. They don’t want a repeat of what happened with David Villa and Luis Suarez.

A solution, if one happens, is going to take a while. However, Pini Zahavi, Carrasco’s agent, — who also happens to represent Robert Lewandowski — is not ruling it out.

“We’re working on a swap deal between Memphis and Carrasco,” Zahavi said. “The negotiations are ongoing. Carrasco wants the move.”