Barcelona met Griezmann's agent in October, confirms Bartomeu

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Josep Maria Bartomeu says discussions took place between Barcelona and Antoine Griezmann's agent in the early part of this season.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed the club held talks with Antoine Griezmann's agent as early as October.

The France star has been heavily linked with a move to Barca from Atletico Madrid at the end of the season, with Luis Suarez hinting last week that a deal could already have been agreed.

Although Atleti boss Diego Simeone denied that was the case, Griezmann – who is said to have a €100 million release clause in his contract – is expected to resolve his future before the World Cup begins in June.

Barca's apparent pursuit of Griezmann prompted Atletico to complain to FIFA over improper conduct in December, though the Camp Nou side denied their claims.

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But Bartomeu says contact was made with the 27-year-old's entourage early this season, telling RAC 1: "I saw Griezmann one day on holiday. We met with his agent, yes. It was in October.

"We talk with [Atleti president Enrique] Cerezo about many topics. We have a good relationship with them."

Griezmann was initially linked with Barca last year as a possible replacement for Neymar, who joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee of €222 million.

The Brazil star has been tipped to return to La Liga with fierce rivals Real Madrid, and Bartomeu sees no reason why the move could not happen. However, he says the Catalan side have no interest in bringing him back as they maintain confidence that big signing Ousmane Dembele will come good despite recent struggles and links to Liverpool.

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