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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Barcelona 'spoke to Antoine Griezmann's agent in October' amid reports of €100m transfer

French striker has again thrived for Atletico Madrid this season, scoring 27 goals to help his side reach the Europa League final

Antoine Griezmann celebrates after the final whistle of the Europa League semi-final second leg against Arsenal. Rodrigo Jimenez / EPA
Antoine Griezmann celebrates after the final whistle of the Europa League semi-final second leg against Arsenal. Rodrigo Jimenez / EPA

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed he has held talks this season with Antoine Griezmann's agent amid reports the French striker will join the Primera Liga champions this summer.

Griezmann, 27, has enjoyed another outstanding season for Atletico Madrid, scoring 27 goals and producing 12 assists in 47 appearances across all competitions to help his side reach the Europa League final and guarantee a top-three place in the Primera Liga.

However, Griezmann's future at Atletico appears increasingly uncertain, with Barca reported to be closing in on a deal for the forward's signature. Griezmann has a €100 million (Dh437m) release clause in his contract and Spanish media report Barca are ready to pay it.

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And after Barcelona striker Luis Suarez recently suggested Griezmann was on his way to Camp Nou, Bartomeu offered his thoughts on the transfer saga.

"We are analysing the season and we will see what we will do with ins and outs," Bartomeu told radio station RAC1.

"I have bumped into [Griezmann] occasionally in the Balearic Islands. I have not spoke to him this year but I did speak to his agent in October. With [Atletico Madrid President Enrique] Cerezo I have spoken about a lot of things, but not about this."

Barcelona are looking to strengthen their squad after winning the Spanish title at a canter, 12 points clear of second place Atletico with three matches left.

They drew 2-2 with Real Madrid on Sunday in a tempestuous clasico despite playing the second half with 10 men after Sergi Roberto's dismissal, and are unbeaten in 42 league matches.

"We are very happy with [manager Ernesto Valverde's] work and that of the players," Bartomeu said. "What they have done and the run they have gone on. When they sent off Sergi Roberto, I suffered a bit thinking about the second half, but then we went on to have a great game."

Barcelona also won the Copa del Rey this season but were knocked out of the Uefa Champions League at the quarter-final stage by Roma after squandering a 4-1 first-leg lead.