?Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has attempted to rubbish growing speculation that star forward Antoine Griezmann will leave the club to join Barcelona this summer, claiming that as long as the French international has a contract he won’t he going anywhere.
With former suitors Manchester United seemingly no longer taking an interest, Barça have been dubbed favourites to secure Griezmann’s signature at the end of the season.
But Cerezo, who oversaw a move from the Vicente Calderon to the brand new Wanda Metropolitano stadium earlier this season, has no intention of losing his biggest name.
“Griezmann is an Atletico Madrid player, he has a contract with the club and as long as that is the case, he can’t sign with another team,” the president is quoted as saying by Marca.
“He has a long contract, I would be surprised if he left. From [Fernando] Torres, [Sergio] Aguero, [Diego] Forlan through to [Radamel] Falcao, losing players has grown tiresome but I don’t think we should get nervous,” he added.
Griezmann is currently contracted to Atletico until the summer of 2022, but the rumours of a Barcelona approach have long focused on the Catalans triggering a buyout clause that would serve to release him from that contract in Madrid.
After signing a new deal last summer following Atletico’s rejected appeal against a FIFA-imposed transfer ban, Griezmann’s buyout clause was inflated to €200m. But that was only temporary and it is widely believed it will return to €100m this summer, actually making him quite affordable for elite clubs in today’s transfer market.
If Barça trigger the clause and Griezmann is happy to go, as Catalan sources have claimed that he is, there would be precious little that Atletico could do to keep hold of him. For that reason, Cerezo may very well be blowing a lot of hot air in a bid to be seen as strong.