Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has cooled speculation linking him with a transfer to Barcelona.
Rumours have persisted throughout the course of the campaign that the Blaugrana are ready to move for the Frenchman at the end of the season, as Griezmann continues to cement his reputation as one of the best forwards in La Liga.
But when asked about the links by Telefoot (h/t Football Espana), the Atletico man was quick to play them down.
"That information is not good," he said of the reports. "Last summer I did not express myself well when speaking (about links to Manchester United), and those were mistakes I must accept and own up to. Since (the turn of the year) I have come back stronger both physically and mentally…now I feel fresher and I want to continue the form I have shown since January."
Griezmann continued that excellent form on Sunday, as he netted an equaliser for Atletico at the Santiago Bernabeu against rivals Real Madrid. As we can see here, after scoring the forward set off on an unusual celebration:
The links between Griezmann and Barcelona have been strong, so much so that the La Liga leaders released a statement in January denying that any agreement was in place to bring the forward to the Camp Nou.
It was reported by Francisco Javier Diaz of AS last month that Atletico have decided to trim down their squad in an attempt to offer new long-term deals to Griezmann and goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Nevertheless, the speculation continues to rage.
For Barcelona supporters, Griezmann is an exciting target, as he continues to light up La Liga with his brilliant forward play. As Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC relayed before his goal on Sunday, the Frenchman is potent in the final third:
Now used as a centre-forward at Atletico, Griezmann is much more involved in the game. On the ball, he's improved his decision-making and creative play, while his searing speed and thumping left foot remain the 27-year-old's biggest assets.
Given his versatility, his dynamism and his goalscoring record, Barcelona would benefit from getting in the Atletico man at the end of the campaign. As Diaz noted, Griezmann has a release clause of €100 million (£87 million) in his contract too; many would consider that a bargain in this market.
Still, Atletico manager Diego Simeone seems confident he can keep Griezmann around, per Goal:
It's not immediately clear where the forward would fit in at Barcelona. Not only does manager Ernesto Valverde have Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to call on, the club spent massive money on Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele in the last two windows.
Atletico can at least offer Griezmann regular football in his preferred position. However, should the offer come in, after four years in the Spanish capital, the prospect of a new chapter with Barcelona would surely be too tempting to turn down.