Simeone ignoring reports Griezmann negotiated Barca commission while at Atletico

By Sports Desk September 20, 2019

Diego Simeone dodged questions relating to Antoine Griezmann on Friday after reports claimed the France international negotiated a €14million signing-on fee with Barcelona while still an Atletico Madrid player.

Griezmann joined Barca in July when the Catalan club deposited the €120m to activate his release clause, which had dropped from €200m at the start of that month.

It brought an end to prolonged speculation about the attacker's future, though Atletico were adamant Barca and the player had struck some form of deal before July, meaning they felt they were owed a further €80m.

Barca insisted they only began negotiations in July, but Spanish newspaper El Mundo claimed on Thursday they had obtained evidence suggesting Griezmann discussed a commission in March.

Simeone was unwilling to address the matter in his pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's visit of Celta Vigo, however.

"I'm thinking about Celta, I'm not interested in anything else," he told reporters.

"With all due respect to you, I understand the questions, but honestly, after playing on Wednesday we use the time to think about Celta.

"They have a reinforced team, the talent they have, the arrival of Rafinha, the presence of [Santi] Mina that creates an important attack. We are more focused on that.

"I understand your objective, but I've got mine."

New Atletico signing Renan Lodi received his first senior Brazil call-up on Friday, with the left-back having caught the eye during his early days at the club.

Although he was shown a red card on his LaLiga debut, he appears to have made the spot on the left of defence his own and Simeone is pleased with the 21-year-old's impact.

"He has been doing a great job since the first day he arrived," Simeone said. "He has extraordinary attributes that will grow with work.

"Hopefully he can maintain this situation of wanting to improve and I'm happy he's been selected by the national team."

Related items

  • Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez to undergo ankle surgery Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez to undergo ankle surgery

    Bayern Munich have confirmed Lucas Hernandez will require surgery after suffering ankle ligament damage during Tuesday's 3-2 Champions League win over Olympiacos.

    Hernandez was forced from the field before the hour in Piraeus, compounding head coach Niko Kovac's defensive problems.

    The left-sided France international was told he needed an operation after a second scan in Munich on Wednesday, although the club have not confirmed an exact timescale for his return.

    The latest in a series of injury problems for Hernandez, 23, comes after first-choice centre-back Niklas Sule suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during Saturday's 2-2 Bundesliga draw at Augsburg.

    "Lucas Hernandez's MRT scan in Munich on Wednesday afternoon confirmed the result of the initial scan carried out by club doctor Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt and the medical staff in Athens (partial ligament tear in right ankle)," a club statement read.

    "The Bayern defender must now undergo surgery.

    Hernandez had only recently returned from a knee injury that saw him become the subject of a club-versus-country row when he was called up to France's squad for the Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Iceland and Turkey, despite Bayern's wishes for him to recover at the club.

    There was better news for the Bundesliga champions with regards to Javi Martinez and Serge Gnabry.

    Spain midfielder Martinez was taken off at half-time against Olympiacos, but Bayern said he "only suffered neurogenic muscle hardening".

    Gnabry took a knock to the knee in the fixture, but both are expected to take part in reduced training in the next few days.

  • Napoli chief De Laurentiis desperate for Ibrahimovic to join Napoli chief De Laurentiis desperate for Ibrahimovic to join

    Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis is eager to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic and says talks about a possible move have gone on "for a few months".

    The 38-year-old has hinted he would be interested in a return to Serie A when his contract with LA Galaxy expires at the end of the MLS playoffs.

    Ibrahimovic has said before he would like to play for Napoli before retirement, having previously won Serie A with Juventus, AC Milan and Inter, although his two titles with the Old Lady were revoked following the calciopoli scandal.

    Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, who worked with Ibrahimovic at Paris Saint-Germain, has already said the club are "waiting" for the Swedish star to arrive.

    De Laurentiis, who met with Ibrahimovic in Los Angeles by chance, has suggested the player need only agree to a Napoli offer and the deal can be concluded.

    "[Ibrahimovic] is a friend," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I met him in Los Angeles not as a footballer but as a normal person because we were in the same hotel.

    "I invited him over for dinner with his wife and kids and we had an amazing time. It would be my wish to see him in Napoli colours. It's more than a suggestion and it depends on him. It's been talked about for a few months now."

    Ibrahimovic has scored 30 goals in as many games in MLS in 2019, helping Galaxy reach the playoffs.

    Having beaten Minnesota United 2-1, Galaxy will now meet city rivals Los Angeles FC in the Western Conference semi-finals on October 25.

  • Emery accepts fan frustration as he commits to crafting attacking Arsenal Emery accepts fan frustration as he commits to crafting attacking Arsenal

    Unai Emery has acknowledged fan criticism but insists the characterisation of Arsenal as tentative and unadventurous is inaccurate.

    The Gunners lost 1-0 at Sheffield United on Monday, squandering a chance to go third in the Premier League.

    The defeat followed an uninspiring and nervy 1-0 win over Bournemouth before the international break.

    Despite spending a club-record sum on Nicolas Pepe in the close season, Arsenal have scored the fewest goals of all bar one team - Crystal Palace - in the Premier League's top seven.

    Thursday's home meeting with Europa League opponents Vitoria Guimaraes presents a chance for a heavily scrutinised squad to find fluency and ease the pressure on their head coach.

    "In my career, it's normal to have criticism of our work in the difficult moments, of my job, our team, the players," Emery said.

    "On one hand, we have the supporters and their opinion, and we need to accept that. My focus is improving in the next match, seeing how we can improve on things.

    "Also, it's how we can, little by little, get ahead, doing our steps in that way, progressing and achieving our immediate target. That's winning tomorrow [Thursday].

    "We are at the beginning of this season and we have won two matches playing very well in this competition, with very good results.

    "We lost a very big opportunity in the Premier League on Monday to be third in the table. We are now fifth, so we have another chance on Sunday [at home to Palace].

    "We know we can improve and we need to improve, so we have to get better in our way.

    "The most important thing is the team and the club, also that our objective is clear. We are at the beginning and I am very confident.

    "I have belief in the players, in our work, the club's strategy, in every player and in our way with our job."

    Rob Holding joined Emery at the pre-match news conference, a sign he is set to return to the starting XI after watching from the bench at Bramall Lane alongside Kieran Tierney.

    Hector Bellerin was missing from the matchday squad entirely, but Emery shifted the focus away from individuals as he stressed a commitment to developing an attacking Arsenal.

    "I don't want to achieve the best performance only with one system or with the same four players," he said.

    "In the Europa League we are using different players and they are also improving our defensive moment. It's for all the players.

    "Above all, I want to continue to be an offensive team, but improve defensively. Our mentality is to be offensive. I am going to get that balance little by little."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.