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Umtiti: I pitched Griezmann on Barcelona move



Antoine Griezmann was linked with a move away from Atletico last summer, but the French attacker ultimately decided to stay in Madrid this season. He’s enjoyed yet another strong individual campaign this season, but Griezmann has reportedly yet to make a decision regarding whether he’ll be back for another season following the upcoming summer transfer window.

Griezmann said that he will make a decision regarding his future before heading to Russia with the French national team for the summer’s World Cup, which begins in June. If one of his France teammates has his way, though, Griezmann will be suiting up next season for Barcelona.

Following the recent international break, Barca defender Samuel Umtiti admitted that he tried to sell Griezmann on the idea of moving to the Nou Camp. Umtiti recently told Canal Plus, “I got myself into agent mode! No, I’m kidding. It’s true that we talk about it a lot. I was able to talk about it with him, but just to find out what he thinks of my club. But everyone thinks good things about it. It makes them dream. Players of that level. If he comes, we’d have to play with six forwards.”

Barcelona may have interest in adding Griezmann, but it stands to reason there are other areas in the squad that they may seek to address first. A general rule of thumb when placing football bets is to take rumours with a grain of salt. There are all sorts of publications out there willing to publish false claims. Barca’s potential interest in Griezmann wouldn’t be a total surprise, but it’s hard to imagine the Frenchman would be a top priority.

While Umtiti may dream of playing alongside his French teammate at the club level, there’s a chance Umtiti himself may not even be with Barca next season. Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been a public admirer of Umtiti’s ability, and Mourinho is reportedly willing to triple the defender’s salary in order to lure him to England next season. Umtiti currently earns €3 million per year at Barcelona.

Griezmann, 27, has contributed 17 goals along with 8 assists in 26 appearances in La Liga for Atletico this season. He also added a pair of goals in Champions League play before his side were eliminated. Since relegation into the Europa League, Griezmann has bagged another pair of goals.

Umtiti added that United are not the only club showing interest in adding the defender. There have been reports that Umtiti has begun contract extension talks with his current club, but the player squashed that notion to the press. He said, “It’s a subject I don’t want to talk about too much. From my side, nothing has started. There is perhaps interest from their side, but nothing has started.”

The potential addition of a player of Griezmann’s characters would certainly give Barca an embarrassment of riches in attack. The loss of Neymar this past summer hurt, but Ernesto Valverde can still deploy the fearsome attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and the newly-added Philippe Coutinho.

Barca have the La Liga title all but in hand at this point, with a nine-point lead on second place Atletico through 30 matches. The Blaugrana will be focusing most of their attention on Champions League and the first leg of their quarterfinal tie with Roma later this week.

Griezmann was heavily linked with a potential move to Manchester United last summer before opting to remain in Spain for another season.


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