International

Barcelona hold talks with Atletico over Griezmann signing

2019-07-05 19:49
Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann (AFP Images)

Barcelona - Barcelona have held talks with Atletico Madrid over the potential signing of forward Antoine Griezmann, the Catalan giants' president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed on Friday.

French star Griezmann, who has long been linked with a move to Barcelona but last year opted to stay in the Spanish capital, has a release clause of €120 million in his contract.

But Barcelona want to sign the 28-year-old World Cup winner without activating the clause.

"Yesterday (Thursday), we had a meeting," said Bartomeu. "Oscar Grau, our general manager, met with Miguel Angel Gil (Atletico's general manager) in Madrid and we began to ask him if it was possible that this (scenario) can happen.

"There is an interest, that's why we got together."

Griezmann signed for Atletico from Real Sociedad in 2014 and has since scored 133 goals in 257 appearances for Diego Simeone's men.

He has also netted 29 times in 70 international games for France, winning the 2018 World Cup and claiming the Golden Boot at Euro 2016 as 'Les Bleus' lost in the final on home soil to Portugal.

Griezmann announced in May that he would be leaving Atletico, but could not announce his destination until his release clause dropped from €200 million on July 1.

Barcelona won their second straight La Liga title last season but are looking to reinforce their squad after failing again in their bid for a first Champions League triumph since 2015 - suffering a humiliating loss to Liverpool in the semi-finals having won the first leg 3-0.

They have also been linked with a possible move to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou.

But Bartomeu said there was no prospect of the Brazilian rejoining the club he left in a world-record €222-million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

"We know that Neymar wants to leave PSG, we know it, but we also know that PSG don't want Neymar to leave," he added. "There is no 'Neymar' file."

Griezmann will not be guaranteed to walk into Barca's starting line-up, though, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and either Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele usually making up their front three last term.

If Barca can get the Griezmann deal over the line, it could also put the futures of former Liverpool forward Coutinho and teenager Dembele in doubt.

Griezmann scored 21 goals in all competitions as Atletico finished second behind Barcelona in La Liga last term, while Dembele and Coutinho managed 11 and 14 respectively.

Bartomeu was speaking ahead of the presentation of rising Dutch star Frenkie de Jong, who has joined the club from Ajax for €75 million.

 

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