Diego Simeone 'Not Worried' About Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2019

Atletico Madrid's Argentinian coach Diego Simeone (L) reacts next to Atletico Madrid's French forward Antoine Griezmann during the Spanish league football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Eibar at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on September 15, 2018. (Photo by Benjamin CREMEL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BENJAMIN CREMEL/AFP/Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has said he is "not worried" by the recent speculation regarding Barcelona's renewed interest in Antoine Griezmann. 

The France international was linked with a switch to the Camp Nou in the summer of 2018, although he eventually decided to sign a new contract with Atletico.

In recent weeks talk about continued interest from Barcelona has started to gather pace again. When asked about the rumours on Friday, Simeone said he's planning for next season with Griezmann in mind, per Goal:

"Honestly, I am not worried about the Griezmann issue. He is a captain of Atletico Madrid. He has always responded with football, with facts, what he wants. [...]

"If I imagine the next season without Griezmann? No, I can not imagine the next season without him because he has a contract with the club, he is one of the captains of Atletico, he gave everything since he arrived and I imagine tomorrow he will have a great match.

"Everything I imagine is around Griezmann."

While the rumours have continued to swirl, the forward focused on his football over the recent international break, netting in wins over Moldova and Iceland (UK Only):

Sky Sports Football @SkyFootball

An incredible backheel from Kylian Mbappé set up Antoine Griezmann for France's fourth goal against Iceland. 🤤 https://t.co/lWECmhpTZb

Sky Sports Football @SkyFootball

😍 - Oh, Paul Pogba. What an assist for the @ManUtd midfielder as Griezmann slams it in from close range! 🎁 https://t.co/rNcQZr74Sh

Moises Llorens of ESPN FC reported on Friday the Barcelona hierarchy was split regarding a possible move for the Frenchman.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu is said to be keen on signing Griezmann in the upcoming transfer window. However, the club's recruitment team—including Pep Segura, Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes—are reportedly not so enthusiastic about a deal.

Llorens has previously reported that Griezmann is ready to leave Atletico and has made it clear to a number of clubs that he would be open to a move. Those teams are said to include Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Griezmann documented his choice to stay at Atletico last summer with a film entitled Le Decision and recently he released another documentary that charts his FIFA World Cup success with France.

The second film is called The Making of a Legend, a sentiment Bleacher Report's Dean Jones disagrees with:

B/R Football @brfootball

"He might think he's a legend. He's not a legend." @DeanJonesBR has his say on Antoine Griezmann's new Netflix documentary on #BRFootballRanks 👀 Subscribe: https://t.co/6e3v4GguK0 https://t.co/yNILAuJQeR

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News was also critical of the program:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

The Griezmann Netflix doc is what you’d expect from a footballer who marketed his decision to stay at Atletico. There are Oscar speech tears and it tries to paint Griezmann as the victim when Atletico fans booed him. Most enlightening bits are when his mentor Olhats speaks.

Griezmann himself recently said he is "fed up" of the rumours, per Univision (h/t Marca), but it appears another summer of speculation is on the cards.

Barcelona are in need of another forward. While Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez remain world-class players, they are each into their 30s and aside from loan signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, the only centre-forward options available to manager Ernesto Valverde.

Griezmann has established himself as one of the best forwards in the game and would add a new dimension to the Barcelona attack. Still, after deciding against making the switch to the Blaugrana ahead of this campaign, it would be a surprise if the La Liga leaders made another significant push to sign the France star.