The France international has been mentioned as a possible Neymar replacement, but his coach is not dismayed to see his name in the news

Antoine Griezmann’s status as a transfer target for some of Europe’s elite clubs brings joy to Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone.

Griezmann was strongly linked with a move to Manchester United before the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to upheld Atleti’s transfer ban, which runs to January 2018, scuppered any potential deal.

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The France forward subsequently signed a new five-year contract reportedly including a €100million release clause but he is now being linked with Barcelona as a replacement for Neymar, should the Brazilian complete a proposed world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.

“I am not afraid that there is such interest,” Simeone said at an Audi Cup press conference on Monday.

“It gives me joy that the best teams in the world are interested in our players, that speaks well both of them and of us, of our work, and that gives me joy.

“The club is making an important effort to keep important football players who are wanted by the best teams in the world. They want to stay at Atletico to continue paving the path that will help us continue growing as a club.”

Simeone opted not to speak about Atletico’s reported interest in re-signing former player Diego Costa, who is expected to leave Premier League champions Chelsea, but denied he was ever close to being appointed Borussia Dortmund’s coach before they moved for Peter Bosz.

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“There was no contact of any kind with Dortmund,” Simeone said. “As for coaching in the Bundesliga, I am open to everything in the future.

“Today, I have a very strong relationship with Atletico, and I intend and have the hope of staying together.”

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