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Barcelona boss Valverde won’t be drawn on ‘hypothetical’ Griezmann signing

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde refused to be drawn on whether the club would look to bring Antoine Griezmann to the Nou Camp over the summer.

The France forward has informed Atletico Madrid he wishes to leave at the end of the season.

Griezmann was heavily linked with a switch to Barcelona last summer, before opting to stay at the Wanda Metropolitano.

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Following the announcement by the 28-year-old, speculation is again rife the LaLiga champions will renew attempts to broker a deal, with the striker’s release clause said to be in the region of some 120million euro (£105m).

Valverde, though, played down any suggestions the transfer was as good as done when facing the media ahead of Sunday’s final LaLiga match at Eibar.

“We’ve always said the same. He’s a player who is at another team, he’s a great player, we’ve always said that,” the Barcelona boss told a press conference as reported by the Spanish media.

Antoine Griezmann (PA)

Antoine Griezmann wants to leave Atletico Madrid for a fresh challenge (Nick Potts/PA)

Pressed on whether Griezmann would fit into his team, Valverde replied: “If in the end he comes to Barcelona, ​​we will see, but we are talking about hypothetical situations, about a player who may or may not come in.

“I have already been asked about other types of hypothetical situations and I’ve not talked about it either.”

Barcelona are expected to strengthen over the summer, as the club aim to last the distance in Europe once again having fallen short in the Champions League, this season at the semi-final stage against Liverpool.

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Valverde said: “I do not know the number of signings that there may or may not be, this goes for the club, I am part of it but there are other parties that have to express their opinion.

“We have to make the best possible team, taking into account the strengths that we have.”

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu maintains Valverde’s job is safe as they aim to complete back-to-back domestic doubles, despite their European disappointment.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde (PA)

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde saw his side’s Champions League hopes end at Anfield (Peter Byrne/PA)

Barcelona face Valencia in the Copa del Rey final on May 25 as they look to win the competition for an unprecedented fifth straight year.

On his own future, Valverde said: “We have already talked about all this, we know that when there is a defeat there is a lot of criticism for everyone, and then things get softer until the next game arrives.

“We have to focus on what we have to gain and not on what happened.”

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Valverde added: “The season has been very good, that is the reality.

“Yes, it has been damaged by how we have fallen in the Champions League, but we have won a (Spanish) Super Cup, we have won LaLiga with days in advance and we can win the Copa del Rey.”

Valverde hopes the game against Eibar can provide focus ahead of the Valencia tie.

He said: “Eibar always have high intensity, we like matches like that because we want to continue competing and we have the final.”

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Forward Kevin-Prince Boateng has been ruled out by a left knee problem.

Eibar boss Jose Luis Mendilibar, whose side have already guaranteed their top-flight survival and could yet finish as high as 10th, hopes everyone can enjoy the end-of-season visit of the champions.

“I hope it’s a party for the fans and for us. We are in a comfortable position, we have fulfilled objectives,” he said, quoted by the club website.

“We would like to finish higher, among the top 10, and we have the possibility if we win.”