hot pursuit

Barcelona issue statement to deny secret pact with Griezmann

The Catalan side reacted to a report that they’ve secured the signing of the France international without his club’s permission.

BARCELONA HAVE DENIED reports that they have already reached an agreement to sign Antoine Griezmann behind the backs of Atletico Madrid.

Speculation surrounding the forward’s future continues to grow as Spanish outlet Sport reported on Saturday that the France international has reached an agreement with the Catalan side that will see him move to Camp Nou at the end of the season.

The deal is said to include financial penalties should either side back out before it goes through, as Griezmann is also being linked to teams in the Premier League.

Barca have already caused a stir with Atletico over their pursuit of Griezmann, as the Madrid club filed a complaint to FIFA to warn them off in December. The Catalan side have moved to calm suggestions that they have entered a secret pact with the 26-year-old.

“FC Barcelona denies reports that have appeared in recent hours in various media referring to Atletico Madrid player Antoine Griezmann, alleging links to our club,” the statement read.

“FC Barcelona expresses discomfort in the face of these events and reiterates its respect for the institution of the Atletico Madrid.”

Griezmann, who has scored eight goals in 24 appearances in all competitions this season, is contracted to Atleti until June 2022.

Diego Simeone’s side are currently Barcelona’s main challengers for the league title as they sit second in the table, although they’re nine points behind Ernesto Valverde’s men.

Griezmann was strongly linked to Manchester United last summer, with Mourinho ultimately pursuing a transfer for Everton forward Romelu Lukaku instead.

Real Madrid have also been mentioned consistently as a potential destination for Griezmann, although Barcelona are now widely believed to be the frontrunners.

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