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BARCELONA

Griezmann: Barça deny making bid for Atlético Madrid forward

Griezmann: Barça deny making bid for Atlético Madrid forward

ALBERT GEA

REUTERS

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has denied any deal is in place for the France striker, who finds himself in limbo after snubbing Atlético.

Antoine Griezmann’s desire to leave Atlético Madrid for pastures new is not going exactly according to plan with his preferred destination – FC Barcelona – stating that they have made no official approach for the France striker.

Atlético president Enrique Cerezo has also previously said that there has been no contact with the Liga champions over the striker, whose release clause currently stands at 200 million euros but will drop to 120 million on July 1.

Given that 80m difference, it is not out the question that Barça are simply employing a little disingenuousness as negotiations behind the scenes pan out, but on Tuesday Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu flatly denied any ongoing talks with Greizmann.

"We've always said it, we've never spoken to him, there's nothing. We're already seeing how the market is growing these days and weeks,” the Barça president said, suggesting that the World Cup winner is far from top of the Camp Nou agenda.

There have also been reports that the idea of Griezmann joining is not a hugely popular one within the dressing room, with Leo Messi not in loquacious boding when recently asked about the possibility of playing alongside Griezmann.

Griezmann in limbo as offers fail to materialise

There is also the issue of where exactly the Frenchman would fit into Ernesto Valverde’s tactical scheme. Messi ostensibly plays on the right but often drifts into a central position while Luis Suárez operates in the middle of the three-pronged attack. Short of shifting Griezmann back out to the left wing where he played at Real Sociedad – and offloading Ousmane Dembélé to do so – there is little space for the striker in the current set-up.

Griezmann has claimed he already knows where he will be playing next season but increasingly it looks as though PSG may be his destination. However, there he would face a similar problem as at Camp Nou, with Thomas Tuchel unlikely to risk ruffling the feathers of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé or Edinson Cavani to accommodate the Frenchman.

The list of other suitors for Griezmann is a short one: only Bayern, one of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea could really hope to fund a move for the striker, with the Stamford Bridge outfit not out of the picture as they seek to replace Eden Hazard, Álvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuaín. European champions Liverpool have ruled out any interest while Juventus are suitable stocked in the attacking department and the other big Italian clubs are on tighter budgets than the Old Lady.