Atletico Madrid president confident Griezmann will stay at the club amid Barcelona interest

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Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo is confident that star player Antoine Griezmann will stay at the club despite heavy speculation linking him to Barcelona.

The 28-year-old was also linked to the La Liga champions last summer but decided to stay in the Spanish capital after penning a new deal. However, fresh rumours have now emerged linking the Frenchman with a switch to the Camp Nou.

But, despite the lure of joining the Catalan giants, club president Cerezo is confident the World Cup winner will stay at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Speaking to RTVE, the Atleti chief said: “Antoine will not move.”

When he was pressed further by a journalist asking him: ‘Griezmann remains safe, you’re 100 per cent sure?’ Cerezo replied: “Antoine remains at Atleti, for sure.”

Griezmann has enjoyed a formidable season to date, scoring 22 goals and providing 10 assists in all competitions.

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Lille blocking all transfer talk for Bayern Munich target Nicolas Pepe until end of the season

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Nicolas Pepe.

Lille president Gerard Lopez says the club are holding off on having any transfer discussions over star winger Nicolas Pepe until the end of the season.

The France-born, Ivory Coast international has been one of the stars of Ligue 1, with his 17 goals and eight assists helping Lille currently occupy second place in the table, one point ahead of third-place Lyon with a game in hand.

That form has seen Pepe attract the interest of several of Europe’s leading clubs, with Bayern Munich among the reported suitors.

However, as the club are still in the middle of a tight race for a top-three spot and the Champions League qualification that comes with it, Lopez says Pepe, like the rest of his team-mates, are “in a bubble” and focusing purely on matters on the pitch.

“We decided not to talk – be it with clubs or consultants. There will be silence until mid-May,” he told La Voix du Nord.

“We have put the dressing room in a bubble and will expand that to the whole club. There are approaches to several players, not just Nicolas.”

For his part, Pepe has quelled the speculation, echoing Lopez’s sentiment that this is not the moment to make a decision over his future and refusing to confirm whether there had been any contact with Bayern.

“When the moment has come, I will make my decision. Whether there was contact with the Bayern? Certainly not with me,” he told Canal+.

“My advisers take care of the affairs, I’m focused on the exciting end of the season. I have no preference, look at all championships. Staying in Lille or going elsewhere is the same for me.”

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Barcelona take lead in race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt striker Luka Jovic

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Luka Jovic is sure to have no shortage of suitors this summer.

Barcelona are leading in the race to sign Eintracht Frankfurt’s striking sensation Luka Jovic, according to a report in Marca.

The Spanish daily says that though Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and several other Premier League and Serie A sides are said to be interested in the Serbian, Barcelona have stolen a march on their rivals.

Jovic is currently at Eintracht on loan from Benfica, though the German club have an option to make that purchase permanent for just €8million at the end of the season.

They are certain to exercise that option, even if only to sell him on for a hefty profit in the summer, with the 21-year-old expected to fetch a transfer fee – 20 per cent of which will go to Benfica thanks to a sell-on clause already agreed with the Bundesliga club – of €80million.

Marca claim Barca scouts and other members of the club hierarchy have seen the striker play live over 20 times this season, an indication of their interest. Jovic’s agent has also met Barca general manager Pep Segura and technical secretary Eric Abidal.

However, the same report says Madrid have also recently met with the striker’s agent, Fali Ramadani, who also represents Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

Meanwhile, Bayern manager Niko Kovac is a former coach of Jovic’s, having been Eintracht manager for the previous two seasons before leaving to join Munich last summer. The striker has previously spoken glowingly of his former manager, and though Bayern are being heavily linked with a move with German forward Timo Werner, signing Jovic could still materialise.

In Italy, Napoli, Inter Milan and AC Milan have all reportedly registered their interest, while Arsenal and both Manchester clubs are said to be monitoring the striker along with Chelsea.

Barcelona view the player as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, who at 32 has already started showing signs of age affecting his game and fitness.

Jovic himself is said to be carefully considering his options, wary of rushing into a decision having had a tough start to life at Benfica when he joined the club in 2016.

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