MADRID (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has said he will have no problem letting his side’s talismanic forward Antoine Griezmann walk away from the club in the future.
Griezmann, who has scored 90 goals in 178 games for Atletico since 2014, was reportedly close to moving to Manchester United in the close season but opted to remain at Atletico after the club’s appeal against a ban on registering new players was rejected.
The 26-year-old signed a new contract last June until 2021 with a buy-out clause of 100 million euros ($117.94 million).
“Of course he can leave at some point, like Diego Costa and Arda Turan did, I’m not an ungrateful person,” Simeone said in an interview with French newspaper L’Equipe published on Friday.
“I love watching my players grow, and if one of them tells me that they have the chance of playing for a certain team, after they did everything they could for me, like Griezmann has, I won’t cause him any problems. I know he needs to grow.”
With Diego Costa returning to the team in January when the ban expires and with Griezmann enduring an inconsistent run in front of goal, reports are gathering pace in Spain that this campaign could be the France international’s last with Atletico.
Barcelona and Manchester United are his most likely destinations, according to Spanish media reports.
($1 = 0.8479 euros)
Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis