Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has stressed that he won’t come in the way of Antoine Griezmann, should he decide to pursue a fresh challenge away from the Spanish capital.
The France international was strongly tipped to join Manchester United in the summer, but he had a change of mind after Atleti failed to have their transfer embargo overruled at the Court of Arbitration of Sport.
In an interview with L’Equipe, the Argentine coach highlighted that the likes of Diego Costa and Arda Turan have previously been allowed to leave the Capital outfit in order to progress further in their respective careers.
While Costa has returned after a three-and-a-half year spell with Premier League club Chelsea, Simeone has admitted that every player needs to grow in his professional career, and the same goes to Griezmann, who has given his all for the Madrid-based club.
“Of course he can leave at some point, like Diego Costa and Arda Turan did in their day. I love watching my players grow, and if one of them tells me that they have the unique opportunity of playing for a certain team, after they did everything they could for me, like Griezmann has done, I’ll say it’s not a problem. I know that he needs to grow,” he told L’Equipe.
Atleti extended Griezmann’s contract until June 2022 in the quest to ward off any interest in the summer, but his current €100m release clause remains within reach of the likes of United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain – all of whom have spent record sums over the past 18 months.
Jose Mourinho’s side started the trend of big-money signings with the arrival of Paul Pogba for £89.3m in the summer of 2016, and the likes of Barca and Les Parisiens have followed suit with the recruitment of Ousmane Dembele and Neymar respectively, the latter costing a world-record fee of nearly £200m.
Griezmann missed the previous league outing versus Real Betis with a hamstring problem, but he is likely to return to the mix when Simeone’s men host Alaves at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Atleti are currently six points behind leaders Barcelona, but they could potentially make ground on the Catalan club, who have a big test against Real Madrid in the El Clasico prior to the winter break.
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