Ernesto Valverde guarded on transfer activity


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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde says Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann is a great player, but he has refused to conclude any deals before the Copa del Rey final.

The Frenchman has confirmed he wants to leave Atletico this summer, just a year after signing a new contract and rejecting a move to Barca.

Griezmann looks set to end his five-year stay at Atletico but his comments have gone down badly with the club’s fanbase.

The World Cup winner has a £108million release clause in his contract and Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United are all interested in opening talks. He is expected to stay in Spain but Valverde claims the Copa del Rey final is more important.

“It is true we have already made contacts,” Valverde said.

“It is true that contacts are ongoing, but the season isn’t over yet. “We have the Copa del Rey final still to play. We have the chance of winning two titles and we must try to focus on this issue.

“Afterwards we will have time for everything else – we won’t say anything new when we are talking about players from other teams.”

“We will see (what happens). He (Griezmann) is a great player. We’ve always said so.”

Barcelona still have one more La Liga game to come through and they will face Eibar on Sunday afternoon. Valverde’s men will then take on Valencia in the final of the Copa del Rey.

They are 1.53 favourites to lift the trophy, with the draw 4.33, while Valencia are 5.50 outsiders for the tournament.

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