Spanish giants Barcelona have rubbished reports of a potential deal for long-term target Antoine Griezmann, issuing a statement on Saturday to distance themselves from any move for the Atletico Madrid forward despite several media reports claiming that the Catalans were pursuing the Frenchman.
“FC Barcelona strongly denies the information that has appeared over the course of the last few hours in different media regarding Atlético Madrid player, Antoine Griezmann, and an alleged deal with our club,” a club statement read on their website.
“FC Barcelona expresses its objections in the face of these events and reiterates its full respect for the institution of Atlético Madrid”, the statement added.
After selling Neymar to Paris-Saint Germain for a world-record fee of €222 million in the summer of the 2017, La Blaugrana had targeted the prolific Rojiblancos forward to replace the Brazilian.
Despite having signed a contract extension in June 2017, Griezmann was reportedly interested in a switch to the Nou Camp but the capital outfit were firm in rejecting Barcelona’s advances and they were miffed at the way the Catalans pursued their player.
The summer window deadline passed, with Barcelona only signing Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund as a like-for-like replacement for Neymar and Griezmann remained at the Wanda Metropolitano.
However, with the winter transfer window officially reopening on January 1, 2018, speculation was rife once again that Barcelona would be renewing their interest in the speedy Frenchman.
And the fact that they were able to nab Philippe Coutinho for a club-record €160 million fee, another long-term target, early on in the window had raised hopes that the La Liga leaders would be looking at more additions to their squad.
Reports of Griezmann being eyed up were doing the rounds in the past few days, but they seemed to have been pure speculation, as Barcelona have clearly stated.