Diego Simeone says Antoine Griezmann will be allowed to leave Atletico Madrid if the right opportunity comes along.
Simeone said he would not stand in the way of any of his players if they wanted to leave to develop their careers, and that could open the door for 26-year-old Griezmann — who has reportedly been on the radar of clubs including Manchester United, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain — to leave either in January or next summer.
“Of course he can leave at some point, like Diego Costa and Arda Turan did in their day,” Simeone told L’Equipe.
“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.”
Griezmann, who won the Golden Boot at Euro 2016, is under contract with Los Rojiblancos until 2022 but has a €100 million release clause.
At a news conference on Friday, Simeone suggested that Griezmann would return from a week out with a minor hamstring problem to start in Saturday evening’s La Liga game at home to struggling Alaves.
“He is our most important attacker,” Simeone said. “Two days ago he returned to training with the group. We will speak with him to get the best for the team.”
Simeone was also asked about the future of right-back Sime Vrsaljko, heavily linked with a January move to Napoli, although the Serie A side’s president, Aurelio Di Laurentiis, has said a summer move is more likely.
“I don’t close the doors for anyone,” he said. “In January players can come in, players can leave. The club has its needs, and I look for what is best for the team. Sime played well against Betis [last weekend]. He has not had much luck with injuries, but I am happy with him and Juanfran, and I need both of them to compete for what we want.”
ESPN FC’s Madrid correspondent, Dermot Corrigan, contributed to this report.