Atletico Madrid were supposedly finished in the transfer market as early as mid-March according to CEO Enrique Cerezo, but it has not stopped a number of stories leaking out.
One of the headlines was that Atleti were becoming increasingly reluctant to complete a deal for Antoine Griezmann. If the French forward plays 50% of the games he is available for over his two-year loan, Los Colchoneros will be obliged to pay €40m to sign him permanently. It has been suggested that he may be left on the bench for the majority of the season to avoid that fee if necessary.
However Diego Simeone has made it clear that an exit for Griezmann before the transfer window ends would be against his wishes. Cadena Cope covered his press conference ahead of their match with Villarrreal.
“We already spoke about it after the match. I have spoken a lot about him. He is a very complete player, a player that knows what we want. He has vision, the work-rate.”
“Let’s hope he continues with us, everyone knows what I want and the important thing is that he continues along the same line as he was on during the preseason and against Getafe.”
Griezmann started last weekend on the bench but came on for the final half hour against Getafe. The Frenchman looked sharp and linked up with Joao Felix to score his first goal of the season.
It is possible that Los Rojiblancos may try to reduce the fee they have to pay to Barcelona, but any exit before September, or keeping him on the bench deliberately, seems far-fetched. It would be a considerable change of tack at a late stage during the transfer window.