​Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted the club will not pursue Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar this summer, with the plan being to negotiate a deal for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann.

Neymar has been heavily linked with a return to Camp Nou alongside Griezmann, although a deal for the latter is thought to be far more likely.

Neymar Jr

Speaking to the press (via the ​Daily Mail) ahead of presenting new signing Frenkie de Jong at Camp Nou, Bartomeu insisted PSG are not prepared to sell ​Neymar this summer, so a deal is unlikely to happen.

He said: “We know that he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain but we know that they don’t want him to leave, so there is no case [to answer].

“I know what I have read in the press. We have contact with Nasser [Al Khelafi] in meetings and committees but he has not told us himself. What we know about Neymar we know from the press.”

Wakaso Mubarak,Ousmane Dembele

When Neymar left Camp Nou in 2017, ​Ousmane Dembele was brought in as his replacement, and Bartomeu insisted the Frenchman is a better player than Neymar.

“I still think that [Dembele is better]. He’s young and very talented. He has a lot of room to grow and we want him to do it here at Barça. He is the cornerstone of our project and our future watching him play is a pleasure,” he added.

One transfer which does appear likely is a move for Griezmann, with Bartomeu confirming that club officials have met with ​Atletico to try strike a deal.

He added: [On Thursday] Oscar Grau met with [Atletico CEO Miguel Angel] Gil Marin in Madrid to see if it was possible to negotiate. We ask them if it were possible to negotiate a transfer. This one [on Thursday] was the first meeting.”


Atleti have since released a ​statement of their own regarding Griezmann’s future following Bartomeu’s comments.

Finally, Bartomeu confirmed (via Barcelona’s ​Twitter page) that he will assume the responsibilities of former sporting vice-president Jordi Mestre, who recently​ resigned from his position after clashing with club officials.

“I am personally taking on the role of Sporting Vice-President. I understand Jordi Mestre’s reasons for leaving the post,” Bartomeu said.


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