Atletico Madrid stalwart Juanfran insists that Antoine Griezmann remains happy at the club amid rumours that he has been installed as Barcelona's number one target to replace Paris Saint-Germain-bound Neymar this summer.
The world-record transfer that will see Neymar swap Catalonia for the French capital took a giant step closer on Wednesday morning (2 August), with manager Ernesto Valverde giving permission for him to skip training.
Barcelona subsequently released an official statement revealing that the Brazilian had informed the club of his desire to leave during a meeting and was told that his eye-watering €222m (£198m, $262.5m) release clause would need to be met in full.
Plenty of players have been mentioned as possible replacements for Neymar, including Philippe Coutinho, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Paulo Dybala, Dele Alli and Eden Hazard. However, Diario Sport claimed yesterday that Griezmann had emerged as Valverde's preferred next forward option.
Quizzed about the French international's future following 10-man Atletico's Audi Cup victory over Serie A outfit Napoli at the Allianz Arena, a match in which he provided an impressive assist for Fernando Torres, long-serving right-back Juanfran insisted that his teammate was currently content amid such speculation.
"We are open to the market, it is getting a little crazy and any operation can affect you, Griezmann is happy at the Atleti and we want to give everything for the Atleti," he told AS.
Rumours regarding an exit from Atletico for former Balon d'Or nominee and Euro 2016 star Griezmann appeared to have finally ended in June when he apologised if his previous flirtations with Manchester United were "misunderstood" and signed a lucrative new contract extension until 2022. He said that to leave Los Colchoneros after their Fifa transfer ban was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) would have been a "dirty move".
€200m buyout clause
Griezmann's €100m buyout clause was temporarily increased to €200m as part of that aforementioned new contract agreement - an exorbitant fee that Barcelona would not be willing to pay despite their incoming Neymar windfall. They would obviously need to negotiate a lower price, although Sport claim that it has been made very clear that an inability to register any new players until the January window means that Atletico will not accept anything less.
Speaking on the renewed gossip involving Griezmann during a press conference earlier this week, Atleti boss Diego Simeone said: "I am not afraid that there is such interest. It gives me joy that the best teams in the world are interested in our players, that speaks well both of them and of us, of our work, and that gives me joy.
"The club is making an important effort to keep important football players who are wanted by the best teams in the world. They want to stay at Atletico to continue paving the path that will help us continue growing as a club."