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BARCELONA

Barcelona chief on Griezmann, Neymar, De Ligt, Dembélé...

Barcelona president Josep María Bartomeu gave a press conference dominated by transfer talk on Friday evening.

Barcelona meet with Atletico for Griezmann transfer talks

Barcelona spoke to Atlético Madrid this week in a bid to bring Antoine Griezmann to Camp Nou, Blaugrana president Josep María Bartomeu told a press conference dominated by transfer talk on Friday.

Barça have been heavily tipped to sign Griezmann since the France forward announced in May that he was to leave Los Rojiblancos this summer.

Barcelona, Atlético CEOs met on Thursday, says Bartomeu

Talking to the media ahead of new signing Frenkie de Jong's unveiling as a Barcelona player, Bartomeu said: "There is interest in Griezmann. [On Thursday] our CEO, Óscar Grau, met with [Atlético counterpart] Miguel Ángel Gil."

Soon after Bartomeu's news conference, however, Atleti responded by releasing a strongly-worded statement acknowledging the meeting, but criticising Barça's approach to their pursuit of Griezmann and accusing the club and the player of "disrespecting" them.

"We know Neymar wants to leave PSG, but we also know PSG do not want him to go"

A complicating factor in 28-year-old Griezmann coming to Barcelona may also be the possibility of Neymar returning to the club from Paris Saint-Germain, where he appears unsettled.

However, Bartomeu seemed to play down talk of re-signing the Brazilian, saying: "We know that Neymar wants to leave PSG, but we also know that PSG do not want him to go."

He also said he considered Barcelona's Ousmane Dembélé "better than Neymar", and dismissed any suggestion Lionel Messi had asked him to bring Neymar back to the club.

Former goalkeeper Valdés set to return to club in coaching role

One man who looks like making a Barcelona comeback is the club's former long-serving goalkeeper Víctor Valdés, who is primed for a possible coaching role.

Bartomeu said: "I have spoken with Víctor Valdés. We would be delighted to have him return home, and in the coming days we will see what position we can offer him."

"I've known for a while where De Ligt is going to play..."

Meanwhile, Bartomeu gave an enigmatic response when asked about De Jong's former Ajax team-mate Matthijs de Ligt, who has been linked with Barcelona but is also a major target for Serie A champions Juventus.

"I've known for a while where De Ligt is going to play, and I can't say any more than that," Bartomeu explained.