Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Clubs, Manchester United, Spanish Primera División, Story, Transfers

Raf Honigstein still expects Antoine Griezmann to join Barcelona this summer even after the club were reported for illegally approaching the Atletico Madrid forward.

Atletico Madrid will make “another effort” next summer to keep Barcelona and Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann, according to the club’s chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin.

The France international extended his contract with Atletico until June 2022 in the summer despite heavy links with United, but sources have told ESPN FC that the Premier League club remain interested in the forward.

Atletico recently reported Barcelona to FIFA for making an illegal approach for Griezmann, who is expected to leave next summer.

Gil Marin revealed that Griezmann has a buyout clause of €200 million until July 1, when it will decrease by half, but said the club would make every effort to convince him to stay.

“Regarding Antoine, it doesn’t depend on us,” Gil Marin told Mega TV. “Last summer we made an effort well above Atletico’s real possibilities so that he would remain and we will do so again next summer.”

The Atletico executive insisted, though, that the 26-year-old will stay put at least until July.

“It’s impossible that he will leave before the summer,” Gil Marin said. “Atletico doesn’t want to sell him either now or in the summer. For us he is a very important player. He has grown a lot with us and we have grown with him. The intention is to continue growing all together. I would love for him to continue.”

Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann’s buyout clause is due to drop to €100 million in the summer.

Griezmann, who joined Atletico in the summer of 2014 from Real Sociedad, has scored five goals and set up three more in 14 league starts for the Rojiblancos, who are second in La Liga, nine points adrift of leaders Barcelona.

Atletico will have Diego Costa available for selection in January once the club’s FIFA transfer ban ends.

The Spain forward decided to return from Chelsea to the club where he won the 2013 Copa del Rey and 2014 La Liga titles in September.

“What we would really like, considering how difficult it has been to unite [Griezmann] and Diego Costa, is to see them play together,” Gil Marin said. “I think it will be good for both of them to compete together. I think it’s going to be very good for Atletico and for the coaches.”

Gil Marin, meanwhile, confirmed that Atletico and Sporting CP have agreed to a move that will send Luciano Vietto to Portugal on loan for the remainder of the campaign, with a purchase option included in the deal, reported to be in the region of €10m.

The transfer will be finalised as soon as the Argentine striker gives his approval to the switch.

“We have reached an agreement with Sporting CP on loan with a buyout option and we are waiting for the player to accept the transfer,” he said.

Vietto, who spent last season on loan at Sevilla from Atletico, has started seven games in all competitions for the Rojiblancos.

Information from Manchester United correspondent Rob Dawson was used in this report.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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