Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid want to keep their best players as speculation mounts that Antoine Griezmann will soon leave the club.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that he spoke with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann’s agent last October, with speculation that the France international forward could join Barca for €100 million in the summer.

Last December, Atletico said they had reported Barca to FIFA for making an illegal approach after director of institutional relations Guillermo Amor appeared to make public a meeting between Bartomeu and Griezmann’s family.

Speaking to Catalan station RAC 1, Bartomeu said: “We do not speak about players from other teams. We are analysing the season and we will see what we do with signings and departures.

“I’ve met him [Griezmann] a few times in the Balearic Islands [on holidays]. I’ve not spoken with him this year, but I did with his agent in October.”

Asked whether Barca had contacted Atletico to ask about the player, as FIFA rules say they must, Bartomeu said: “With [Atletico president Enrique] Cerezo I’ve spoken about many things, but not about this.

“Our relationship with Atletico is very good, and we understand football in the same way.”

Griezmann, who is represented by his sister Maud, said in March that he wants to have his future sorted out before the World Cup begins in mid-June.

Last summer, he was strongly linked with Manchester United, eventually signing a one-year contract extension with Atletico.

Griezmann’s goal in the Europa League semifinal first leg at Arsenal was key to their progress to the final against Marseille in Lyon, and the 27-year-old suggested he could remain at Atletico should a new deal be done.

“I don’t know [where I’ll be next season],” he said. “We are talking to the club and we will see what happens.”

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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