Barcelona transfer news: Griezmann update, Simeone wants Dembele, and more - 3rd February 2018
Spanish football expert issues positive update
Antoine Griezmann has been linked with Barcelona for quite some time now. However, there has been no formal announcement or communication between the Blaugrana and Atletico Madrid except for an official statement from the Catalan club stating no contact has taken place between them and the Frenchman.
Spanish football expert, Guillem Balague opines that the 26-year old is positive regarding a move to Camp Nou and said during a Q&A session with Sky Sports:
"Griezmann is definitely a target – €100m is what he will cost this summer. Barcelona feels that Griezmann has been very positive about the possibility of joining Barcelona as well."
"Even though Atletico has taken the case to FIFA, for the alleged illegal approach of Barcelona, basically what Atletico have told Griezmann is, ‘If you want to stay, we’re happy for you to stay, if you want to go, there are other ways of doing this’, so they are just being realistic to Griezmann."
"Atletico wanted to take pressure away from him and focus on the rest of the season. To be honest, in the last month, Griezmann has been a better player. With Diego Costa next to him, you’ve seen a player that has delivered much better than he had done earlier in the season, scoring a goal or an assist in six of the last seven games. Of course he’s absolutely a target for Barcelona, no doubt about it."
In six months time, Barcelona can put the ghost of the FIFA case behind them and go in with a fresh bid to secure one of their top summer targets.
Diego Simeone interested in signing Ousmane Dembele
The former Borussia Dortmund attacker has struggled with injuries since his big-money move from Germany in the summer. Now, the arrival of Philippe Coutinho casts a bigger shadow over the 20-year old's playing time. This makes it even more difficult for the Frenchman to secure a first-team spot at Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, the Barcelona hierarchy is reportedly getting frustrated with his injuries, if reports from Diario Gol are to be believed. The player has not adapted well so far and if the Catalan outfit succeed in landing Griezmann in the summer, then Dembele potentially falls further down the pecking order.
However, as per the Spanish news outlet, that deal could turn into a lifeline for the youngster as Atletico Madrid boss, Diego Simeone is an admirer of his abilities and even wanted to sign him before he joined Barcelona.
Now, the capital club are willing to take the wide forward on a permanent basis or on loan as one of the replacements for Griezmann, which in turn will surely benefit the player.
If Dembele goes out on loan for a season or two at the Wanda Metropolitano then he can return a finished product and repay the fee paid by the Blaugrana for his services. Else, this could turn out to be a huge loss for the La Liga giants.
Samuel Umtiti's new deal next on club agenda
The Frenchman has turned out to be one of the best signings made by the club in recent times and has formed a solid partnership with Gerard Pique in the heart of Barcelona's defence. Now, the Blaugrana reportedly want to renew his contract both, as a recognition for his performances, as well as increase his release clause from €60 million.
After the contract renewals of Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto, Umtiti's renewal is of top priority at the club with Jose Mourinho's Manchester United emerging as a potential suitor in the summer, according to Don Balon.
Umtiti is expected to receive a contract extension that will secure his future until 2023 at Camp Nou while his new wages will reflect his stature at the club.
Further, the 24-year old's release clause is also expected to be bumped up above €200 million to ward off any suitors. Barcelona expect the renewal process to be smooth as the gaffer Ernesto Valverde rates him highly and Umtiti himself is not interested in listening to offers from other clubs.