Barcelona Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Antoine Griezmann and Arthur

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IDecember 17, 2017

MADRID, SPAIN - DECEMBER 16: Antoine Griezmann, #7 of Atletico de Madrid during The La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Deportivo Alaves at Wanda Metropolitano on December 16, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)
Sonia Canada/Getty Images

Barcelona have reportedly met with Antoine Griezmann to discuss an £87 million deal for the Atletico Madrid forward, while Chelsea and Inter Milan are said to be ready to rival the Catalan giants for Gremio midfielder Arthur.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu met the Frenchman and his family for a meal in Barcelona to discuss a summer transfer, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Ben Church for MailOnline).

Griezmann's sister, who is involved in his management, and his parents were all at the meeting, although Barcelona are yet to contact Atletico Madrid or activate Griezmann's release clause.

Atleti manager Diego Simeone has said that the club will allow Griezmann to leave if he asks to quit the club, per L'Equipe (h/t Sky Sports).

After a slow start to the season, Atletico have found their form to move into second place in La Liga.

Simeone's side are still unbeaten in the league, although they have dropped into the UEFA Europa League after being knocked out of the Champions League.

Griezmann has seven goals and five assists in all competitions this season, and his importance to the team is highlighted by Opta:

OptaJose @OptaJose

0 - Atlético de Madrid have never lost in all competitions without Antoine Griezmann on the pitch since the Frenchman arrived to Madrid in the summer of 2014 (8W 8D). Team https://t.co/M5mqI7G7RQ

The 26-year-old came close to leaving last summer, only to decide to stay as he thought it would be a "dirty move" to depart when the club was under a transfer embargo, per Telefoot (h/t Colin Harvey at the Daily Star).

There will be no such problems this summer, and with Simeone also unwilling to stand in his way, it looks increasingly likely this will be his last season with Atletico.

Meanwhile, Barcelona remain favourites to sign Arthur but will face competition from Chelsea and Inter, who have both contacted his agent, per Mundo Deportivo (h/t Rob Guest at Football.London).

Arthur has met with officials from the Catalan club and was also photographed wearing a club shirt. He has also said that "all players dream of playing for Barcelona," per Sport.

Gremio president Andre Zanotta has confirmed Arthur has a €50 million release clause and has spoken about how much interest there is in his player.

Per Alberto Pinero at Goal, he said: "It's incredible how my telephone is ringing for Arthur nowadays! From every part of the world and every language you could imagine."

The Selecao Brasileira Twitter account shows Arthur's importance to Gremio:

Seleção Brasileira @BrazilStat

Arthur is the most important player in Renato Gaúcho's system. He is the one who raises the overall level of Grêmio's passing football. Luan is important in build up but he doesn't control the tempo the way the 21-year old does.

The midfielder is able to take control of games from deep and rarely wastes a pass, making him look a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Tifo Football show just how good he is in possession:

Tifo Football @TifoFootball_

⚫️🔵 Grêmio midfielder Arthur is getting a lot of attention this season - and rightly so. 2,002 passes attempted 1,863 passes completed 93% pass accuracy He leads the Brasileirão in each of the aforementioned statistics. No wonder Barcelona are interested! https://t.co/4Gu4ZWCASo

Barcelona look to be in pole position to sign the 21-year-old, but with interest in his services increasing, they may want to complete a deal soon to avoid a bidding war.