Barcelona have told La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid they are prepared to activate Antoine Griezmann's release clause worth €100 million (£88 million), according to Helena Condis of Cadena Cope (h/t Cope, via Sports Illustrated's 90Min).
Links between Griezmann and Barca have been building in recent days. Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu recently told radio station RAC1 (h/t BBC Sport) he met with the player's agent last October.
Bartomeu also made it clear he had spoken with Atletico president Enrique Cerezo.
Barca manager Ernesto Valverde tried to play down the rumours, but he also couldn't resist talking up Griezmann's quality, per Goal's Matt Dorman: "He's a great player, I have no doubt about that. I'm sorry but I think we have to be cautious about players who don't play for us."
Valverde is right to acknowledge Griezmann's talent, since the France international has all the attributes to be a star at the Camp Nou. He has pace, composure in front of goal and some of the most intelligent movement in Europe.
Those attributes, along with a deceptively effective aerial threat, have helped Griezmann find the net 27 times in all competitions this season. Griezmann's goals have fired Los Rojblancos to the UEFA Europa League final.
Barca may need a versatile forward who can attack from the flanks as well as Griezmann, after French source RMC (h/t Get French Football News) reported Liverpool have made an approach for Ousmane Dembele.
Adding Griezmann alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi would give the Blaugrana the best front three on the continent.
Atleti may already be preparing for Griezmann's departure, with Le10Sport (h/t Sam McGuire of Football Whispers, per Sky Sports) reporting Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani is a possible replacement.