Atletico Madrid have hit out at Barcelona after president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Friday the club have been in contact with Los Colchoneros over a deal for Antoine Griezmann.
The Frenchman announced before the end of the season he would be leaving the club in the summer transfer window and has been heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou.
Atletico CEO Gil Marin has previously said he’s known since March Griezmann will head to Barcelona, and the club have now issued a strongly worded statement concerning the Frenchman.
“On May 14, Antoine Griezmann informed Miguel Ángel Gil, Diego Pablo Simeone and Andrea Berta of his decision to leave our club at the end of the season. In the days that followed that meeting, Atlético de Madrid learned that FC Barcelona and the player had reached an agreement in March, specifically in the days following the return match of our Champions League tie against Juventus, and that they had been negotiating the terms of the agreement since mid-February.
“Regarding president Bartomeu’s statement today we wish to state that it is true that yesterday there was a meeting between Miguel Ángel Gil and FC Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau, at Barcelona’s request and that at that meeting, Mr Grau expressed his intention, once the release clause of Antoine Griezmann’s contract had decreased from 200 to 120 million euros, to ask for a deferred payment of the aforementioned amount of the clause in force as from July 1.
“Atlético de Madrid’s response was obviously negative, as we believe that FC Barcelona and the player have disrespected Atlético de Madrid and all its fans.
“As a consequence, today, Atletico de Madrid has instructed the player, his sister and agent and his lawyer, that Antoine Griezmann, in compliance with his contractual obligations with our club, must appear next Sunday in the club’s facilities in order to start the pre-season with the rest of his teammates.”
Source | Atletico Madrid
Quite where this leaves Griezmann and Barcelona remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Atletico have already splashed out €126m on his replacement by bringing in Joao Felix.