Valverde unsure whether Barcelona will swoop for 'great player' Griezmann

By Sports Desk May 18, 2019

Ernesto Valverde described Antoine Griezmann as "a great player" but was unable to confirm whether he would be joining Barcelona, despite Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain distancing themselves from the World Cup-winning forward.

Griezmann announced his decision to leave Atletico Madrid in a video posted on his social media accounts on Tuesday, thanking the club's supporters for "five incredible years".

He has been linked with a transfer to Camp Nou for over a year, opting to sign a new five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano before the start of the 2018-19 season rather than pursue a move at that time.

With the 28-year-old set to switch allegiances, and both City's Pep Guardiola and PSG's Thomas Tuchel saying they would not be signing him, Valverde was asked whether he would be looking to add Griezmann to his squad for next season.

"We always say the same – he's a player at a different club," Valverde told a news conference.

"Who knows? He's a great player, I've never denied that. Are you going to ask every coach in football if they want him? Is that your plan?"

When asked what role Griezmann might play in his Blaugrana team, Valverde responded: "If he came you would see.

"We're talking about an assumption, a player who might come, who could be here. I'm not going to talk about his position."

Barcelona clinched the LaLiga title with three games to spare and their clash with Eibar on Sunday is of relatively low significance to both sides.

But Valverde insisted he will name a strong side to ensure his players' match fitness does not wane ahead of the Copa del Rey final against Valencia six days later and deflected further questions about transfer targets, preferring to focus on his aim of winning the double.

Asked if he had new players in his sights, he replied: "I don't know, that's an internal club matter. There are other parties involved who might have an opinion.

"The club's idea is to make the best team we can, taking into account our strengths and weaknesses. Right now we've got a final to think about. We could win the double this year.

"It has been an extraordinary season – things were broken a lot by the way we went out of the Champions League, but we won the Super Cup, the league with three games in hand. We've got the cup final to come."

He added a word of reassurance over Lionel Messi, who was short of his best in Barcelona's 2-0 win over Getafe five days after their Champions League elimination at the hands of Liverpool, who overturned a 3-0 first leg deficit on a dramatic night at Anfield.

"When you lose a game the way we did [in Liverpool] that does hit you very hard," admitted Valverde.

"Leo [Messi] is fine, better every day. The days after going out of the Champions League you find it difficult – they are not a team that is used to losing.

"But they are looking forward to the cup final, Leo as much as anyone else."

Related items

  • Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz suffers latest injury setback Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz suffers latest injury setback

    Brahim Diaz is set for another spell on the sidelines after suffering an abdominal injury, Real Madrid have confirmed.

    The 20-year-old forward only returned to training last week having missed the bulk of pre-season due to a hamstring problem.

    A timeframe has not been placed on Diaz's recovery.

    A club statement read: "Following the tests carried out today on our player, Brahim Diaz, by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with a muscular injury to his right anterior rectus.

    "His recovery will continue to be assessed."

    Diaz joined Madrid from Manchester City for an initial €17million in January and started four of their final five LaLiga games last season, scoring his maiden goal in a 3-1 defeat at Real Sociedad.

    This bout of fitness problems has proved particularly untimely, denying Diaz the chance to press his claims amid the arrivals of Luka Jovic, Rodrygo and Eden Hazard – although the latter two have also been hit with injury setbacks.

  • Rumour Has It: Barcelona to submit Neymar bid Rumour Has It: Barcelona to submit Neymar bid

    Neymar continues to dominate the headlines and Barcelona look set to finally get serious in a move for the Paris Saint-Germain star.

    The Brazil international, 27, has been linked with a move from PSG, but progress has seemingly been slow amid links to Barca and Real Madrid.

    It appears Juventus are now ready to join the race, too, as Barcelona prepare to submit an offer.

     

    TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO SUBMIT NEYMAR BID

    Barcelona have decided to submit a formal offer to PSG for Neymar, according to RAC1.

    The cover of Sport reads 'Offer Offical' as Barcelona continue their pursuit of the star they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago.

    They say Barca are hoping to get a deal done and have an option to buy Neymar next season.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - There may yet be a bit to play out in the Neymar saga. AS report Juventus have opened talks with PSG and are keen to sign the Brazil star, willing to offer Neymar the €37m per year net he currently makes at PSG.

    - Paulo Dybala could be part of a Juventus move for Neymar. Dybala was reportedly close to a Premier League switch earlier this month and is valued at €80m and a target for PSG, according to Sport and the Daily Mail, giving the Ligue 1 champions an ideal replacement for Neymar.

    - Christian Eriksen's Tottenham future remains unclear. However, ESPN FC report the Denmark international is only interested in moving to Barcelona, Real Madrid or Juventus if he leaves Tottenham.

    - As Barcelona try to find a deal for Neymar, Nelson Semedo has been one of the players mentioned as part of a potential package. However, Marca report the defender does not want to go to PSG and Barca are aware.

    - Roma are still trying to strengthen their defence and Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi has emerged as a target, according to TuttoMercatoWeb. The Serie A giants would consider an initial loan move for the defender.

    - Franck Ribery could be close to making a decision on his future. According to Fabrizio Romano, the former Bayern Munich star is in advanced talks with Fiorentina.

  • Klopp: Liverpool couldn't afford Coutinho Klopp: Liverpool couldn't afford Coutinho

    Jurgen Klopp revealed Liverpool could not afford to bring Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield as he backed the attacker to shine at Bayern Munich.

    Coutinho's move to the Bundesliga champions was confirmed on Monday, the Brazil international joining on a season-long loan from Barcelona with Bayern holding an option to buy for €120million.

    The 27-year-old had also been linked with a return to Liverpool, where he starred for five seasons before joining Barca.

    Klopp said the European champions could not spend the money required to sign Coutinho, with Bayern paying an €8.5m loan fee and the star's wages.

    "It sounds a bit strange, but we could not afford it," he said at the Sport Bild awards on Monday.

    "We have already spent the money that we got for him."

    Klopp backed Coutinho to shine for Bayern after struggling to have an impact at Barcelona.

    "He's a great player, a great boy," the former Borussia Dortmund coach said.

    "We were reluctant to sell him, but Barcelona forced us with money, so to speak.

    "He is a player who can change games for the positive. It's not that nice for Dortmund, but it's a great transfer for Bayern and the Bundesliga."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.