Atletico Madrid GM Insists ‘Nobody’ Has Made an Offer for Antoine Griezmann as Barcelona Circle

?Atlético Madrid’s general manager Clemente Villaverde has claimed that he has no enquiries for his club’s star player Antoine Griezmann, despite Barcelona being heavily linked with a move for the Frenchman.

In an interview with Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, via Goal, the Los Colchonceros chief said: “Nobody has asked for him. Griezmann is a player of Atletico, and I do not know anything about Barça. At the moment I can say he is a player of Atletico Madrid and I can only talk about facts and realities, not about the future. He has a contract with us.”

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The tenacious forward has repeatedly been linked with a move away from the club in recent years, and with his release clause set to drop from €200m to €100m, Atlético will be bracing themselves for a host of top sides looking to sign the 27-year-old. Despite his prodigious talents, Griezmann is yet to win a major trophy and will be eager to progress in his career.

Barcelona remain the favourites to capture the former Real Sociedad man, but Manchester United are likely to join the Catalan giants in the transfer race. Griezmann was believed to be close to joining the Red Devils last summer, but the potential deal was scuppered when Atléti received a transfer embargo and were unable to replace any outgoing stars.

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Meanwhile, ?Juventus are rumoured to have met with Atléti defender Filipe Luis’ agent, as the club look to find a replacement for Alex Sandro – who is hotly tipped to move away this summer.   The 32-year-old has just one year left on his contract, so Juve boss Maxi Allegri will be hoping to sign the former Chelsea man on a bargain deal as his club look to cash in while they can.

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Brilliant Barcelona Set New La Liga Record & Move Within Touching Distance of Title

?Barcelona set a new unbeaten record in La Liga earlier today, putting Tuesday’s shock exit from the UEFA Champions League behind them to defeat Valencia at the Nou Camp.

Their 2-1 victory – achieved courtesy of goals from Luis Suárez and France defender Samuel Umtiti – means La Blaugrana have now gone 39 matches in La Liga without tasting defeat, more than any other side in Spanish league history.

The Catalans proudly celebrated this remarkable feat on Twitter:

Barca’s latest win moves them within seven points of the La Liga title. They are now 14 points clear of second-placed Atlético Madrid and have a vastly superior goal difference to Los Rojiblancos.

Nevertheless, this achievement will be scant consolation to some Barcelona fans, who must still be wondering how their side managed to squander a 4-1 first leg lead to lose to Roma on away goals on Tuesday.

As one Twitter user by the name of ‘Zeus’ cruelly pointed out, it was the third season in a row that the Catalan giants have been knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter final stage:

??From Barca’s point of view, perhaps the most disappointing aspect of their Champions League exit was that all three of Roma’s goals at the Stadio Olimpico came from dismal defending, with centre backs Gerard Piqué and Samuel Umtiti both having a match to forget.

Ironically, Barca actually had a rock-solid defensive record in Europe this season until Tuesday’s match – they conceded as many goals away to Roma as they’d conceded in their previous nine Champions League matches.

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Still, as disappointing seasons for Barcelona go, this one could have been far worse. As well as setting a new La Liga unbeaten record, Barca need to avoid defeat in just six more league matches to go an entire league season unbeaten.

The Spanish champions-elect will also be consoled by the thought that their bitter rivals Real Madrid are currently languishing in fourth place in La Liga.

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Bold Spanish Report Claims Real Madrid Have Held Talks With Man Utd Defensive Target

?Barcelona and France defender Samuel Umtiti has held talks with Real Madrid over a summer move.

That is according to Spanish source Diario Gol, who are claiming that figures at the Catalan side have been left irate over the approach.

Barcelona v Valencia - La Liga

It has been reported that the Primera Division leaders could struggle to keep hold of the defender this summer as both Real and Manchester United are interested in signing him. But they are looking to avert a transfer by means of a new contract.

The player and club are understood to be locked in negotiations regarding an extension, yet Gol report that Madrid are planning to trigger the France international’s release clause, which stands at £53m.

It is likely that a new deal would see the buyout fee rise, but nothing is agreed as yet.

FC Barcelona v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One

Per Gol, Real lead the race to sign the defender and have already met with him to hold discourse over a summer switch. They also claim that president Josep Maria Bartomeu is furious as result, and he’s also fearful of United muscling in to make things doubly difficult.

Of course, Gol are known for making outlandish claims and this may very well be one of them. One would have to be pretty brave to make a direct switch from Barca to Madrid or vice versa, and if Umtiti does make such a move, he will never hear the end of it.

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Leaving for United, though, will be markedly easier; and it’s something he might consider if it ever comes down to him deciding where he wants to play his football.

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Mauricio Pochettino Remains Confident in Signing Barcelona Ace Despite Premier League Competition

?Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is said to still be keen on signing Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes despite the growing interest from other Premier League clubs.

Having moved to the Nou Camp in the summer of 2016, the Portugal international is struggling for game time in Spain having started just five times in La Liga this season as well just one game in the Champions League. 

He has since made it clear he wants to move in order to get more game time, and has also opened himself up to a move to the Premier League.

Real Betis v Barcelona - La Liga

According to ?the Mirror, Tottenham are set to battle it out with London rivals West Ham United to get Gomes’ signature this summer. Spurs have previously been linked with the 24-year-old – with a reported £40m move last summer failing to materialise – but the report claims Pochettino is still keen on signing the player ahead of next season. 

If Gomes was to join the Hammers instead, it would see him join fellow countryman Joao Mario in the centre of midfield. Mario joined the Hammers on loan in January for the remainder of this Premier League season, but West Ham have an option to make the deal permanent at the end of his loan for a fee of £26m.

FC Barcelona v Sporting CP - UEFA Champions League

This may encourage Gomes to move to the London Stadium, but Tottenham look to offer more with the array of talent available for Gomes to play alongside as well as the potential of Champions League football next season.

Unfortunately for Tottenham, West Ham aren’t the only club they should be watching out for as it was reported by ?the Sun that Manchester United are also monitoring Gomes’ situation with Barcelona.

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Spurs fans will be hoping the club can get a deal done as they look to build for what promises to be an encouraging debut season at their new stadium next season.

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Barcelona Home Matches to Stay at Nou Camp Throughout 3-Year Redevelopment Project

?Barcelona have confirmed that home matches will still take place at Camp Nou despite the famous stadium due to undergo redevelopment work at the same time.

La Blaugrana and the region’s city council came to an agreement on Thursday that allowed for the club’s new stadium project – dubbed ‘Espai Barca’ – to commence in the summer of 2019 to the tune of around €639m.

The three-year plan had been expected to force Barcelona out of their home ground and potentially ground share with a nearby club – most likely Espanyol – but ?AS has now reported that Barca will carry on playing their home games on their hallowed turf while the building work takes place.

The redevelopment will not continue during the course of each season, however, and it is this key reason that has allowed the current La Liga leaders to play at Camp Nou despite work being conducted to improve and enhance the arena.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “It is the best agreement because it is the one with the most support and consensus, which has been a top priority for us.

“Today, despite the elimination from the Champions League, which has been very tough, we have come to talk about this ‘Espai Barça’.”

(You may also be interested in ?VIDEO: Prophetic Iniesta Warns Barcelona Teammates of Roma Fightback Ahead of Shock UCL Exit)

‘Espai Barca’ will see Camp Nou see a slight increase to its 100,000-seater capacity and remain in place as the biggest football ground in Europe. The addition of a roof will also allow for games to be played despite any treacherous weather conditions that make their way to Catalonia.

The project will also see a revamp of the surrounding area, with new green spaces outlined to allow families to come and enjoy the sunshine and bask under one of the world’s most famous stadiums.

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Apartment blocks will also be added to parts of the surrounding Artistides Maillot area as well as a €90m renovation of nearby indoor arena Palau Blaugrana – the venue used by Barca’s basketball, handball and futsal teams – and should be officially signed off by the head of the Barcelona’s Urbanism sub-committee at the end of April.

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