Barcelona Yet to Make Antoine Griezmann Approach, Says Atletico Madrid President

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2019

France's forward Antoine Griezmann looks on as he takes part in a training session on June 1, 2019 at La Beaujoire stadium in Nantes western France, on the eve of the friendly football match between France and Bolivia. (Photo by Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has said Barcelona have yet to make contact with the club over the possible signing of Antoine Griezmann. 

The forward has confirmed the previous season was his last at the Wanda Metropolitano, just a year after he signed a new long-term contract with Atletico. Griezmann was pursued by Barcelona last summer before he decided to remain in Madrid.

It was reported by Michael Butler of the Guardian that Atletico were set to lose the Frenchman to the Blaugrana for £108 million in this window. However, Cerezo said there's not yet been discussions between the two clubs.

"No one from Barca has contacted me," he said to Onda Cero (h/t Matt Dorman of Goal). Cerezo went on to praise Griezmann for his success at Atletico.

"Griezmann has been with [Atletico] for five years and done a splendid job," Cerezo noted. "We have a good relationship. Nice, trustworthy. I hope wherever he goes he will be treated the same as he has been with us. I don't know where he's going, he didn't say. I don't have the slightest idea where he will go. I don't think anyone knows."

The man himself was recently asked about his future:

AS English @English_AS

'That's a good question' - Antoine Griezmann coy on his future. https://t.co/RUNoyHxHeq https://t.co/5YzADT2L8r

Griezmann will be a big loss to Atletico, as he's been at the hub of their attack since arriving from Real Sociedad in 2014.

Under Diego Simeone he's become a second striker capable of creating and scoring goals; before the move he was a raw and inconsistent winger.

The Champions League Twitter account shared some of Griezmann's best moments in an Atletico shirt:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

🗣️ Antoine Griezmann: "These five years have been incredible. Thank you very much for everything, I carry you in my heart." #UCL | @AntoGriezmann https://t.co/7MCUwGh872

In his time at the club, the forward's goalscoring record has been fantastic:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

👊 256 Games ⚽️ 133 Goals Antoine Griezmann has confirmed he is leaving Atletico Madrid after five seasons with the club 🔴⚪️ https://t.co/FKs029kryU

Although any deal would be expensive, the merits of bringing him in would be obvious.

This past season a huge burden was placed on Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in the attacking positions. Ousmane Dembele had another campaign blemished by injuries, while Philippe Coutinho has struggled for form since he joined the club from Liverpool in January 2018.

Having Griezmann to fill in up top and even occupy one of the wide forward positions would be a major boost for manager Ernesto Valverde.

However, there have been some reports suggesting Messi isn't totally convinced on Griezmann and would prefer to see Neymar return to the club:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

RMC Sport bringing all of the drama from Barcelona today. - Messi isn’t all that excited about Griezmann possibly signing, prefers Neymar return. - Barcelona reportedly made an approach for the Brazilian last week. Turned down. https://t.co/hp10TmZlag

A fee of £108 million is massive, although there will surely be a number of clubs ready to pay that for Griezmann. The forward has been one of the most dangerous players in European football for a long time now and would potentially be further invigorated by a new challenge.

Barcelona require a fresh face in the final third, and Griezmann would add a different edge to their attacking play. Even so, a move to the Camp Nou doesn't feel like it's inevitable.