Football

Atletico president: Man United too 'small' for Griezmann

Atletico Madrid's president has dismissed reports linking Antoine Griezmann with Manchester United, joking that the Premier League club are a "small team".

Man United are interested in signing the Atletico forward should he become available in the summer, with the Old Trafford club reportedly willing to meet his £85-million (S$150m) release clause.

The 25-year-old's contract will run out at Atletico in 2021 after signing an extension in the summer.

But that hasn't stopped speculation, and Atletico president Enrique Cerezo has quashed any rumours that Griezmann could be leaving the club at any point soon.

"Manchester United?" Cerezo said when asked about Griezmann's potential exit by reporters, before jokingly adding: "Small team.

"I believe in the contracts that people sign, that goes for (coach Diego) Simeone and Griezmann."

TRANSFER BAN

Man United are embroiled in a six-way battle for Champions League qualification in the Premier League, while Atletico's Fifa-imposed transfer ban means they would not be able to bring in a replacement were Griezmann to leave.

But, even when the ban is lifted, Cerezo says there are no plans to bring Sergio Aguero or Diego Costa back to the club.

Aguero has been dropped by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola for Gabriel Jesus for the last two games and hinted an exit was looming at the end of the season after last Sunday's win over Swansea City.

Despite scoring 102 times in a five-year spell at Atletico before joining City in 2011, the Argentinian was criticised by Cerezo for leaving the club on bad terms.

"If he had left in a normal and cordial manner, then there would have been no problem, but I don't know what happened to him," Cerezo told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE.

"He left on very bad terms, rather than as a hero."

On Costa, Cerezo said: "He is at a great club. They say he is going to China, but I don't see Chelsea letting him go."
- WIRE SERVICES

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