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18th May 2019

Barcelona players ‘veto’ Antoine Griezmann signing, reports claim

Reuben Pinder

This throws a spanner in the works

Antoine Griezmann is leaving Atlético Madrid this summer after five years. The club announced his departure on Twitter this week, nipping his plans to announce the news via another documentary in the bud.

The most likely destination for the Frenchman seemed to be Barcelona, who have been linked with him for years in one of the most tedious will-they-won’t-they sagas in recent footballing history.

It was thought that Griezmann could succeed Luis Suarez in Barcelona’s front line, with the Uruguayan striker showing signs of his age. But this move appears to have been scuppered, with reports coming out of Catalonia claiming the Barcelona dressing room have ‘vetoed’ the transfer.

The Barça squad are understood to be opposed to his arrival, with SPORT claiming senior players have informed club president Josep Bartomeu that they do not want the club to sign Griezmann from Atléti – something they’ve never felt inclined to do before.

This opposition stems from Griezmann’s self-indulgent documentary released last summer to announce that he would remain at the Wanda Metropolitano after he teased Barcelona for months on end.

This public snub seems to have burned some bridges and Barcelona players would rather the club looked further afield for a new striker.

A public poll conducted by the Catalan newspaper also shows that fans are not so keen on the move, with 67% of 500,000 respondents saying they do not want the World Cup winner to come to the Camp Nou.

Given his release clause, Griezmann would set Barcelona back a lot of money for someone not considered a priority. The club would rather sign Ajax captain Matthijs De Ligt to shore up the defence, with Frenkie De Jong already coming from the Eredivisie champions.

Barcelona remain on the look out for a new back-up number 9, with Everton forward Richarlison on their list. Richarlison will play in the Copa America this summer for Brazil, who will host the tournament.