Barcelona have informed Atletico Madrid they are preparing to pay Antoine Griezmann's 100 million-euro ($118.6 million) release clause, Spanish radio reported on Tuesday, as speculation over the French striker's future intensified.
This situation is in conflict with France boss Didier Deschamps' wishes for all his players to have sorted out their transfer business before the World Cup begins.
The attacker has a chance to win silverware with his current employers if Atletico can defeat Marseille in this season's Europa League final. "We need to keep working on that aspect to get to finals".
"We've been competing for the title and Barcelona have been continuously pressuring one of the most important players in our squad".
Constant rumors about his potential departure have made them restless and it was quite evident in the recent statement by the club's CEO Miguel Angel Gil Martin on the official website [via Goal.com].
Since they are expected to make in a swoop for numerous players including Griezmann this season, Barcelona will be looking to puff up their purse even more in the next couple of months.More news: Three injured in knife attack on South Africa mosque: Security company
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"That a president and a player speak the way they've done about the future of a player with an existing contract and just a few days before a European final shows an absolute lack of respect towards Atletico Madrid and the club's fans".
Griezmann has been strongly linked with a move to Camp Nou for much of the campaign after a switch to Manchester United failed to materialise a year ago.
"I can not tell you anything else because I do not know anything else".
In January, Barcelona "strongly denied" claims they had agreed a deal to sign Griezmann, who is under contract until 2022, this summer.
Griezmann has a release clause of €100m, and given the relative straightforward nature of a signing, Ernesto Valverde's side have "taken for granted" the 27-year-old's arrival.
"But we have to be very cautious about saying anything about a player that is not ours and making sure we respect our rivals", he added.