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Barcelona thinking post-Messi in Griezmann deal as Bartomeu avoids Neymar talk

16:34 GMT+3 27/07/2019
Messi Griezmann GFX
The Blaugrana president admits moves are being made at this stage with the long-term future in mind, but he will not discuss a former favourite

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu admits the club are planning for the “post-Messi era” in their move for Antoine Griezmann, but has refused to be drawn on talk of re-signing Neymar.

The Blaugrana are aware that a mercurial Argentine will not always be available to them.

Lionel Messi is now 32 years of age and will require somebody to follow in his footsteps at some stage.

There is no sign of the five-time Ballon d’Or winner slowing down, with another new contract being mooted, but assistance at Camp Nou is most welcome.

World Cup winner Griezmann has been acquired to help provide that, with the France international snapped up in a €120 million deal with Atletico Madrid.

Bartomeu is delighted to have another proven performer on board, with Barcelona starting to work more long-term in their transfer business.

He told Radio Montecarlo: “Griezmann is one of the five or six best players in the world. We already knew that.

“The possibility arose to bring him in and we had no doubts about it.

“We must also think about the post-Messi era and we must try to make a future with the best players possible.”

Barca may be tempted to further bolster their ranks by bringing in another attacking partner for Messi.

Talk of a move to return Brazil international Neymar to Camp Nou refuses to go away, despite Paris Saint-Germain making it clear that they will not easily part with the 27-year-old.

Neymar is said to be keen on retracing his steps to Catalunya, while his former club are open to the idea of bringing him on board if a suitable deal can be done,

Bartomeu is, however, reluctant to discuss a long-running saga in public.

He added on the Neymar rumours: “In the summer I read newspapers a lot and they say a lot of things.

“Here the only thing clear is that Neymar is a PSG player and we respect PSG a lot. In this case there is not much more to say.”

Neymar has been drafted back into PSG’s pre-season plans amid the uncertainty surrounding his future, but the summer transfer window in Spain will remain open until September 2.