Atletico confident of keeping Antoine Griezmann amid Man United, PSG links
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo says he has no reason to believe Antoine Griezmann wants to leave the club, and recent comments made on French TV were only said in jest.
Griezmann was linked with a move to Manchester United last summer before eventually agreeing a new contract to remain at the La Liga club, but he has struggled to find his best form so far in 2017-18.
Speaking while on international duty with France this week the 26-year-old appeared open to the suggestion he could join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Meanwhile, other reports in France claimed that he has already agreed a €100 million move to Barcelona next summer, while sources have told ESPN FC that United could also return with a new bid.
Cerezo told Europa Press that he was confident Griezmann would stay where he was long term.
"You do not understand Griezmann, or his sense of humour," Cerezo said. "He wants to stay. He is saying what he has to say. I have not seen him say anywhere that he wants to leave, just the opposite, that he wants to stay as, among other things, he has a contract."
Cerezo himself cracked a joke when asked about Griezmann having suggested he liked the idea of lining up alongside Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at PSG.
"What you don't know is that maybe those two could come here," he added.
🤙🏽🙂🤙🏽 + 👨🏽🍳 = ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/DhPBuCpOis— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) November 14, 2017
Next up for Atletico is Saturday's La Liga derbi at home to neighbours Real Madrid, with both teams needing a victory as they are currently joint third in the table, already eight points behind leaders Barca.
"The derbi is an important game for everyone, but it is a league match just like the last one," Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak told the club's website. "We're going to try and win it just as we always do. I hope the result is what we are looking for."
Atletico have yet to enjoy a big win at their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium this season, with Chelsea winning on their Champions League visit in September and Barca getting a late equaliser in October's La Liga fixture.
Oblak said he was confident that the modern new stadium would soon match the Vicente Calderon.
"I feel proud to be playing the first season at the Wanda Metropolitano," he said. "We changed from the Calderon where everything was great. But at the Wanda everything is spectacular. I am sure that in this stadium we will continue as before."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan