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SOCCER

Bielsa asks Athletic candidate to sign Griezmann

Iñaki Arechabaleta, candidate for the presidency at Athletic Club, admitted that talks for Griezmann were at “an advanced stage”.

Update:
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico de Madrid) of France greets after the UEFA Nations League League A Group 1 match between France and Croatia at Stade de France on June 13, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhotoGetty

Antoine Griezmann, who through the youth academy at Real Sociedad and is under contract with Atlético, could be heading to Bilbao in what Iñaki Arechabaleta described as one of the big transfer signings of the summer. Griezmann is contractually tied to Atleti on a two-year loan deal from Barcelona which will expire next summer but could leave in the next transfer window if a substantial offer comes in for him. Arechabaleta, one of the candidates running for the presidency at Athletic Club, explained during his campaign trail that the number of clubs and agents he has spoken to “can be counted on the fingers of one hand”. Griezmann has been requested on the express wishes of Marcelo Bielsa, who will return to Athletic if Arechabaleta is elected on 24 June and could be presented by the end of the month. The Argentine coach asked former president Josu Urrutia to sign the French forward, who was then still at La Real, during his first spell in Bilbao.

Athletic seeking summer reinforcements

Athletic will start the 2022/3 season with a new coach and new coaching team and Bielsa has asked Arechabaleta to make reinforcements to the squad for the new campaign. Arechabaleta explained that there are a few deals still being negotiated, some at an advanced stage, but none have been closed yet. He added that “several names are on the table”. Osasuna midfielder Jon Moncaloya is one of the players who have been linked although his buy-out clause now stands at 22 million euros. Another players who Athletic are keen on to shore up the midfield is Valencia’s Hugo Guillamón. Ander Herrera wants to continue at PSG and has already been ruled out by Arechabaleta.

As for Atletico’s position on Griezmann, club president Enrique Cerezo said last month, “He is an Atlético player, he is under contract and he will continue with us”. Griezmann has one year left on his loan deal from Barça. If he plays a minimum of 45 minutes in over 50% of Atleti’s games next season, he will automatically trigger a compulsory purchase order and the Rojiblancos will be obliged to buy him for 40 million euros.

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