Atletico will survive Griezmann loss – Simeone

Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid, Clubs, Spanish Primera División, Story, Transfers
La Liga correspondent Sid Lowe delves into the inner workings of Antoine Griezmann’s buyout clause and how it could delay an announcement on his future.

Diego Simeone has said he is confident that Atletico Madrid will survive the loss of departing forward Antoine Griezmann.

France international Griezmann, 26, said this week that another club would trigger his €120 million release clause in July, with Barcelona expected to be his next destination.

The World Cup winner scored 133 goals in five seasons at Atletico, but coach Simeone told a news conference the club had plenty of experience of replacing big name forwards with emerging stars.

“This team has been competing for almost 10 years now,” he said. “Players left, like Diego Ribas, Arda Taran, Raul Garcia, Radamel Falcao, Diego Forlan, Sergio Aguero, and the club kept going thanks to a better structure than before.

“The player we look for will be someone who can cover three-quarters of the field very well, scores 20 goals a season, and is available cheap!

“It is very difficult, but he will have to be motivated and excited to wear this shirt. It is difficult to get a ready-made superstar. [But we can sign] a Griezmann from Real Sociedad, who can become a Griezmann of the future, or a Rodrigo from Villarreal, or a Jan Oblak from Portugal. I keep sticking to these dreams.”

Atletico could also lose midfielder Rodrigo in the summer, with Manchester City and Manchester United reportedly prepared to pay his €70 million release clause.

“I talk a lot with Rodrigo,” Simeone said. “That powerful teams have noted his progress since he arrived from Villarreal makes me happy.

“He identifies with this club, he is happy in Madrid. We tell him he is 22, has a lot to improve and is a very important player for the team, that players are leaving and there are places to fill.”

Club captain Diego Godin announced his exit last week, while long-serving defenders Filipe Luis and Juanfran Torres are out of contract.

Godin told Spanish magazine Club del Deportista the vital thing for Atletico was that Simeone was staying.

“Atletico Madrid today are a team that any player would like to come to play at,” he said. “It is natural for players move on, but Atletico Madrid now has the structure and base to deal with these types of changes.

“Above all, the most important is Simeone. You cannot now imagine Atletico Madrid without him.”

Godin has not yet revealed his next club, although sources close to the player told ESPN FC that he was 90 percent certain to be going to Inter Milan.

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